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    Short Stories by Great Scottish Authors: George Mackay Brown

    Cloudy sunset over Hoy Sound from a beach near Warbeth cemetery © 2012 Scotiana

    Cloudy sunset over Hoy Sound from a beach near Warbeth cemetery © 2012 Scotiana

     

    Dear readers,

    I’m very happy to be back on the keyboard to share with you new pictures, new stories, new books about our beloved Scotland. Time flies. January is already ending though, in the south west of France, we’re still waiting for the arrival of winter.  The skye is as blue today as in a summer day and I hope the weather is as nice in Scotland as it is here, in Aquitaine, after the heavy rains and catastrophic flooding that have devastated large areas of the country recently.

    This morning, as I was sitting in front of my computer, with so many Scottish books and pictures around me inviting me to write about Scotland’s culture and history, breathtaking landscapes and rich wildlife, and so many places of interest, I wondered which subject I would choose to begin the new year on Scotiana. There is so much to tell, so much to remember, so much to anticipate for our next trip there 😉

    The answer came soon when my eyes fell on Hawkfall, one of the books which were laying on my desk.

    Hawkfall George Mackay Brown John Murray 1974

    Hawkfall George Mackay Brown John Murray 1974

    “The imagination is not an escape, but a return to the richness of our true selves; a return to reality.”

    Hawkfall is a book of short stories written by George Mackay Brown and a bookmark with pictures of GMB on it marks the story I am presently reading and which is entitled ‘The Drowned Rose’. It is a ghost story. I am a great fan of ghost stories and one of my aims this year is to read as many of them as I can, including ghost story and more particularly Scottish stories. Isn’t Scotland famous for its ghosts?

    George Mackay Brown and Iain Crichton Smith, my two favourite Scottish authors,  are experts in the short story genre and they have written a number of them, including ghost stories, the kind of story which are traditionally told at Christmas. So George Mackay Brown and Iain Crichton Smith appear once again on the top of my 2016 reading list. I will share with you my readings.

    Below is the list of George Mackay Brown’s books of short stories :

    and a list of GMB’s ghost stories (to be completed ‘au fil de mes lectures’ 😉

     

    Scottish Ghost Stories edited by Giles Gordon Senate 1996

    Scottish Ghost Stories edited by Giles Gordon Senate 1996

    The very atmospheric cover of Scottish Ghost Stories edited by Giles Gordon Senate in 1996 featuring a sepia-coloured picture of Glamis Castle  a castle which is said to be one of the most haunted Scottish Castles.

    • ‘Beliah’ (Scottish Ghost Stories – Giles Gordon – Senate edition 1976)
    • ‘Sara’ (The Seventh Ghost Book edited and introduced by Rosemary Timperley)
    • ‘Mister Scarecrow’ (The Fifth Ghost Book edited and introduced by Rosemary Timperley Pan Books 1971)
    • ‘The Drowned Rose’ (Hawkfall)
    • ‘Andrina’ (Andrina)
    • ‘Brig-O-Dread’ (The Sun’s Net)
    • ‘The Pirate’s Ghost’ (The Sun’s Net)
    • ‘Soldier from the Wars Returning’ (The Sun’s Net)
    • ‘The Tree and the Harp’ (The Masked Fisherman)

     

    George Mackay Brown's short stories  - Scotiana.com

    George Mackay Brown’s short stories – Scotiana.com

    George Mackay Brown's books of short stories  - Scotiana.com

    George Mackay Brown’s books of short stories – Scotiana.com

    Winter Tales George Mackay Brown 1975 -  Scotiana.com

    Winter Tales George Mackay Brown 1975 – Scotiana.com

     

    Three lovely editions of Winter Tales

    The Island of the Women George Mackay Brown Birlinn 2006

    The Island of the Women George Mackay Brown Birlinn 2006

     

    If you plan to visit Orkney, it could be a good idea to read George Mackay Brown’s wonderful books. GMB was a very prolific writer though he began writing rather late in his life, due to health problems. His poetry as well as his novels, short stories, autobiographical essays reflect a deep sense of the place he loved so much. GMB spent all his life in Orkney, mainly in Stromness and rarely leaved his beloved islands. But the impact of his writings which embody universal values goes far beyond his native place.

    We  went several times to Orkney, never departing without having put some flowers on GMB’s grave. Last time, we sat for a long time on the bench which stands near his last home, across the street from Stromness Museum, at Mayburn Court. Soon, I will tell you more about the unforgettable moments we spent in Orkney and about GMB’s other works.

    Bonne lecture ! A bientôt. Mairiuna

     

    Orkney Ring of Brodgar stone giant © 2003Scotiana

    Orkney Ring of Brodgar stone giant © 2003Scotiana

     

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