George Mackay Brown – Winter Tales Book Festival


George Mackay Brown (1921-1996) was one of Scotland’s finest poets and short story writers of the twentieth century. An alumnus of the University of Edinburgh, where he studied between 1956-60, his work is nearly all set in his native Orkney and reflects his deep commitment to and love of the place he called home. On the centenary year of his birth, the School of Divinity’s Dr Linden Bicket will be joined by the novelist Malachy Tallack, and the poet Gerry Cambridge, to discuss the spiritual dimensions of Brown’s fictional universe, which he called ‘the small green world’ of Orkney.


Linden Bicket is Lecturer in Literature and Religion in the School of Divinity at the University of Edinburgh. Her publications to date reflect an inter-disciplinary work in the fields of literature and religion. She is particularly interested in twentieth-century Catholic fiction and poetry, modern Scottish literature, and children’s literature, but her research interests also include patterns of faith and scepticism in literature (and film and theatre) more broadly. Her book, George Mackay Brown and the Scottish Catholic Imagination was published by Edinburgh University Press in 2017, and her centenary edition of Brown’s An Orkney Tapestry (co-edited with Professor Kirsteen McCue) was published by Birlinn in 2021.

 Malachy Tallack is the award-winning author of three books, most recently a novel, The Valley at the Centre of the World (Canongate, 2018). It was shortlisted for the Highland Book Prize and longlisted for the Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize. His first book, Sixty Degrees North (2015), was a BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week, and his second, The Un-Discovered Islands (2016), was named Illustrated Book of the Year at the Edward Stanford Travel Writing Awards. Malachy is from Shetland, and currently lives in central Scotland.  

Gerry Cambridge is a poet, critic, essayist and editor with substantial interests in print design and typography as well as a background in natural-history photography. His publications include: Notes for Lighting a Fire (HappenStance Press, 2012), shortlisted for the Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust’s book of the year award 2013; Aves (Essence Press, 2007), prose poems about wild birds; Madame Fi Fi’s Farewell and Other Poems (Luath Press, 2003); and ‘Nothing But Heather!’: Scottish nature in poems, photographs and prose (Luath Press, 1999). He founded the transatlantic magazine The Dark Horse, still Scotland’s leading poetry journal, in 1995. 

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Sunday 05 Dec 2021
New College, Edinburgh. United Kingdom