George Mackay Brown was arguably Scotland's finest poet and writer of the 20th century. Surprisingly, given his wide readership and acclaim, this was the first book to offer a comprehensive study of his work, taken as a whole. It charts the development of Brown's ideas and style, through description and analysis, identifying phases in his work, including comparative study of versions of key works. It demonstrates Brown's remarkable gifts exercised in pursuit of 'the poet's true task'. Absorbing and accessible to all, this is the essential book to understanding a lifetime's writing from one of the 20th century's great writers and poets.
Rowena Murray graduated in Scottish Literature and Fine Art from the University of Glasgow. She studied and lectured in the United States, gaining a PhD for a thesis on George Mackay Brown, and she is now the University of the West of Scotland's Professor in Education (Director of Research). She has published extensively, on literature, on writing in research, teaching and educational development.
Brian Murray read English at Glasgow University, and was a teacher in the west of Scotland, Adviser in English for Ayrshire and a Head Teacher. With Archie Bevan he has been editing the unpublished and uncollected work of George Mackay Brown -- twelve volumes to date, with others projected. Like his daughter Rowena, he was a long-term friend of the writer. In 2013 Brian Murray was invited to accept an Honorary Fellowship of the Association for Scottish Literary Studies.
'Provides an excellent overview of Brown's work, covering all the genres in which he wrote: poetry, prose, drama, journalism, autobiography, children's story and essay. Employing a narrative structure, the authors skilfully and economically lead the reader through the whole body of Brown's work ... There are surprises in this delightful book, even for those who knew Brown pretty well.'
-- Ron Ferguson, The Herald
'This pioneering study ... comprehensive, learned and enlightening ... Interrogation of Silence has clearly grown from an unparalleled intimacy with the texts themselves ... Analysis of Brown's obsessive revisions is thorough and satisfying ... The Murrays are to be congratulated on what looks set to be the definitive companion volume for the ever-growing number of next generation students of George Mackay Brown.'
-- Simon Hall, The Scotsman
'An erudite and insightful biography that sheds new light on his mixed feelings for his homeland and on the sources of his inspiration.'
-- Rosemary Goring, The Herald
'This engaging, modest book is a comprehensive prologue to the work of the much-loved Orcadian poet and novelist ... Throughout there is clarity, affection and enthusiasm. No one who has read and enjoyed any of Mackay Brown's works could fail to be led on by this volume to further explorations.'
-- Peter Davidson, Scotland on Sunday