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Steve Savage Publishers Ltd
CoverCollected Short Stories

David Toulmin

sample extract

Also by David Toulmin:
Blown Seed
Buchan Claik (co-author)
isbn 9780903065740 rrp 14.95 hardback 336 pages

David Toulmin's first collection of short stories, Hard Shining Corn, published in 1972, immediately established him as a Scottish writer in the same tradition as Lewis Grassic Gibbon, and it could be said that Toulmin has done for Buchan what Grassic Gibbon did for the Mearns, in the sense that Buchan is now sometimes referred to as 'Toulmin country'.

There is vitality, humour and sensitivity in all David Toulmin's short stories, as he graphically describes the lives of the fee'd cottar folk and the farmers; their joys and sorrows, life and death, and the ever-changing seasons of the farming year.

Toulmin's recollections of farm life in his native Buchan were gathered from forty-four years working as a farm labourer in that airt, rearing crops and cattle in a harsh and forbidding climate.


David Toulmin is the pen-name of John Reid, who was born at Rathen in Buchan, Aberdeenshire, in 1913. His father was a farm worker, and at the age of fourteen, John left school to work on the farms as a 'fee'd loon'. He married in 1934.

An interest in writing which began in his schooldays developed into an absorbing hobby and in 1947 his first article was published in a local newspaper. Since then, he has had nine books published; a number of his short stories have been broadcast on the radio and he has made several appearances on television.

In 1986 he was awarded an Honorary Degree as Master of Letters (M. Litt.) by Aberdeen University for his services to Scottish literature.

In December 1992 he was incapacitated by a stroke which ended his writing career and on 13 May 1998 he died at his home in Aberdeen.

His Collected Short Stories were published in 1992.

'Fiction like this amply justifies the familiar comparison with the best of Grassic Gibbon's short stories, and goes a long way to suggest that the comparison with Gorki and Gogol, which Maurice Wiggin made in his review of Toulmin's first book, is by no means absurd.'
-- Colin Milton, University Review

His literary talent is a thing of wild and simple beauty, rippling like corn in the wind or raising memorable scents in the nostrils.'
-- Jack Webster, Daily Express

'The effect of the longer short stories is overwhelming. I've never read a description of a farm fire which could compare with Toulmin in "Snowfire", and "Moonlight Flitting" touches the heart of life.'
-- Jack House, Glasgow Evening Times

'It must be said that it is in his short stories that Toulmin excels. He tackles the delicate issues of life, death and religious feeling, and yet with the rawness and spontaneity of the North-East farm loon, which makes him unique.'
-- Buchan Observer

'On reading David Toulmin's stories, one is convinced that the land itself has found a voice -- because not only are they strong on social history, they are rich in human drama and tragedy. From his memories of the Grindstone of Life he has made a song, and a fine one.'
-- Dr Cuthbert Graham

'To those who know the life of the rural North-East, David Toulmin produces the thrill or frisson of recognition which is an acknowledgment of truth to life tellingly conveyed.'
-- The Scots Magazine