Author Biographies

James Hogg (1770–1835), the ‘Ettrick Shepherd’, was born to a farming family in the Scottish Borders. He earned the nickname through his work for a time as a shepherd. He taught himself to read from newspapers passed to him by the wife of his employer. Hogg began writing songs and plays and moved to Edinburgh in 1810 to pursue a full-time writing career. A friend of many writers of his day including Sir Walter Scott, he was a prolific writer throughout his life, producing novels, poetry and songs up until his death. Hogg was greatly admired during his lifetime not least for overcoming the disadvantages of his peasant birth and lack of formal education. A James Hogg Society was founded in 1981 to encourage the study of his life and writings.
R.L. (Robert Louis) Stevenson (1850–1894) was born in Edinburgh in 1850 and was a Scottish novelist, travel writer, essayist and poet. A sickly child, he was often taught at home by private tutors. He enrolled at Edinburgh University to study engineering, but switched to law. He spent a year on the French Riviera to recuperate from ill-health and whilst there developed his love of art. He married Fanny (an American divorcee) in 1880 and they spent the next seven years living and travelling between the UK and America. Three years spent touring the Pacific and South Seas then followed, and his travel writing from this period formed the backdrop for many of his novels. In 1890 Stevenson purchased some land and settled in Upolu, an island in Samoa. He died there in 1894 of a suspected cerebral haemorrhage aged 44. Best known for Kidnapped and Treasure Island, Stevenson was a literary celebrity during his lifetime and now ranks among the 30 most translated authors in the world.
George MacDonald (1824–1905) was born in Huntly, Aberdeenshire and was a poet, author and church minister. He attended Aberdeen University and then trained as a minister in London. He was involved in ministerial work in various places including Manchester and Algiers. A friend of Mark Twain (it is widely believed that MacDonald’s writing influenced Twain’s own work) and mentor of Lewis Carroll, he is also credited with influencing many notable authors including JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis. The publication of Phantastes in 1858 firmly established his status as a writer. His non-fantasy novels are regarded as the founding works of the ‘Kailyard’ school of writing. He moved to Italy in 1879 and spent over 20 years there, returning to England in 1900. Between 1855 and his death in 1905, MacDonald published over 100 books in a variety of genres including fantasy, romance and a number of Christian sermons.
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