Wednesday, 17 October 2012

A Birthday Celebration

George Mackay Brown by Fred Schley  - portrait  on display in Stromness Library

We have been reminded by our friends at Orkney Archive that on this day in 1921 George Mackay Brown was born.

Looking for a suitable quote to celebrate the life of a writer, whose life and work was so defined by the place of his birth, we have turned to An Orkney Tapestry - which seems to us to capture both George Mackay Brown's sense of the importance of Orkney's literary heritage:

It is the word, blossoming as legend, poem, story, secret, that holds a community together and gives a meaning to its life.

and his own role within that tradition:

With the help of the old stories, the old scrolls, the gathered legends, and the individual earth-rooted imagination, I will try to discover a line or two of the ancient life-giving heraldry.

That so often we find ourselves turning to his poems or prose to illuminate some aspect of life in Stromness seems proof enough of a writer whose work is firmly woven into the fabric of his community, and will continue to be celebrated as part of its rich, and ongoing, life and legend.

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