Cover image for For the islands I sing : an autobiography
For the islands I sing : an autobiography
Brown, George Mackay.
Personal Author:
[First paperback edition].
Publication Information:
London : J. Murray, 1998.

Physical Description:
192 pages ; 22 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Personal Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library PR6052.R59 Z466 1997 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



George Mackay Brown wrote this memoir in the years before his death in 1996, but he did not want it published while he lived. In particular, he looks at Orkney, where he was born the youngest child in a poor family, and which he rarely left.

Reviews 1

Booklist Review

It is possible to conclude from this autobiography that Brown (1921^-96) led a hard and an easy life. Born just before the era of antibiotics, he suffered from tuberculosis, often severely, until middle age and couldn't labor to support himself in poor and remote Orkney. But he was born late enough to receive sufficient government assistance to pursue passions for beer and poetry and to attend Edinburgh University when Scotland's greatest twentieth-century authors, including the older Orkney poet Edwin Muir, were there. After six years, he went home at nearly 40 and, once his first books of poems and stories were published, enjoyed astonishing literary productivity for the rest of his life. He assembled his life story from old and new writings in 1985 and gave it a beautiful coda in 1993. His childhood, his university years and friends, literature, and Orkney history are its main themes. It is as enchanting and elementally powerful as his spare poetry and fiction (e.g., The Island of the Women and Other Stories [BKL Ag 98]). --Ray Olson

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