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Hugh MacDiarmid


(Christopher Murray Grieve)

1892 - 1978

Poet, nationalist and socialist. Born Christopher Murray Grieve in Langholm (Dumfries and Galloway), the son of a postman. Educated at Langholm Academy and in Edinburgh, his father's radical republicanism and his school teacher's love of literature had a great influence on the young MacDiarmid. This teacher was the composer, Francis George Scott (1880 - 1958). MacDiarmid worked as a newspaper reporter in Forfar in 1914 and lived in Montrose during the 1920s, where he was both a Town Councillor and Justice of the Peace. He moved to Whalsay in the Shetland Islands for most of the 1930s.

His best known work is the epic poem "A drunk man looks at the thistle". MacDiarmid was a great promoter of the Scots language and Scottish culture; indeed he was also a founder of the Scottish National Party, while remaining a radical socialist throughout his life. He lived at Brownsbank Cottage, near Biggar, from 1952 until his death, and this is now preserved by the MacDiarmid Museum's Trust.

He lies buried in Langholm.


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