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 Douglas Brown (1869–1902) was born in Ayrshire and educated at Glasgow University and Oxford before moving to London to embark upon a career in journalism. He was published in Blackwood’s Magazine and in 1899 published a novel called Love and a Sword under the pseudonym Kennedy King. In 1901 his second novel, The House with the Green Shutters, was published under the pseudonym George Douglas in 1901, the year before his death from pneumonia at the age of 33. The novel describes the less genial side of Scottish life and was considered to be a counterpoint to the kailyard school of writing.
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