About the BookFirst published in 1969, "A Time to Keep" has a vast cast of characters drawn from Orkney's past and present. The stories offer a range of emotions and incidents, exploring how the new and old collide and crash in a community as deeply rooted as Orkney's. 'Celia' portrays a woman who is shutting out the contemporary world, losing herself in an alcohol-fuelled haze which helps her rejects the horrors of Apartheid and the Vietnam War. In 'The Wireless Set', an old couple begins to fear the implications of new technology, as they associate the loss of their son during the war with the radio he brought to them before he left. "A Time to Keep" reflects Brown's recent conversion five years earlier to Roman Catholicism, which is both reflected in the title and in the spiritual content of the tales.
George Mackay Brown (1921–96) was one of the twentieth century’s most distinguished and original writers. His lifelong inspiration and birthplace, Stromness in Orkney, moulded his view of the world, though he studied in Edinburgh and later at Newbattle Abbey College. In 1941 he was diagnosed with pulmonary tuberculosis and lived an increasingly reclusive life in Stromness, but he produced a regular stream of publications from 1954 onwards. These included A Calendar of Love (1967), A Time to Keep (1969), Greenvoe (1972), Hawkfall (1974), and, notably, the novel Beside the Ocean of Time (1994), which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and won the Saltire Book of the Year.