National Records of Scotland

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George Mackay Brown (1921-1996)

George Mackay Brown (1921-1996)

Poet and Writer

George Mackay Brown was born in Orkney, the setting for much of his work. He also contributed a weekly column to the local paper 'The Orcadian'. He was part of the Scottish literary renaissance along with Hugh MacDiarmid and Lewis Grassick Gibbon and played an important role in establishing the St Magnus Festival, an annual international festival of the arts held in Orkney.

George Mackay Brown is one of the famous Scots commemorated in our Archivists' Garden. The entry on the rowan tree includes quotes from one of his poems.

Birth in 1921

George Mackay (here given as McKay) Brown was born on 17 October 1921, the son of John Brown, postman and Mary Jane McKay. The entry in the statutory register of births for Stromness in Orkney gives the place of birth as Victoria Street in Stromness. The 'B' in the right margin indicates that this was in the burgh rather than landward (L) part of the registration district.

Birth entry for George Mackay Brown

Birth entry for George Mackay Brown (55 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, 1921/30/33

Death in 1996

George Mackay Brown died on 13 April 1996. The entry in the statutory register of deaths for Stromness gives his profession as poet, his age at death as 74 and his marital status as single. (National Records of Scotland, 1996/142/12)