Letters of love from George Mackay Brown

George Mackay Brown and Kenna Crawford
George Mackay Brown
and Kenna Crawford.

Letters revealing the relationship between George Mackay Brown and the woman who was his last muse are now in the national collections.

Mackay Brown, known as 'the Bard of Orkney', met Kenna Crawford in 1986. For the writer and poet, who was more than twice Crawford's age, the attraction was intense and inspiring, although the relationship remained platonic. 

Until his death 10 years later, Mackay Brown sent letters and poems to the woman he loved. He credited Crawford with inspiring a new period of creativity after a time when he wrote very little.

Daily life in Orkney

The National Library of Scotland bought his letters and other papers to add to the existing Mackay Brown archive. The letters give an insight into the writer's daily life in Orkney, and tell of his interests, ideas and creative process at that time.

Among the papers acquired is an uncorrected typescript of 'The ballad of the golden bird', which was published as 'The golden bird: Two Orkney stories'. For this work Mackay Brown won the prestigious James Tait Black Memorial Prize in 1987. 

Read more in our George Mackay Brown letters press release.

10 October 2012



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