Neil Gunn

1891 - 1973

Novelist. Gunn was born and schooled in Dunbeath (Highland), in the old county of Caithness, the son of a fisherman. He spent his teenage years in St John's Town of Dalry (Dumfries and Galloway), during which time he was privately educated. Gunn joined the Civil Service, working in London and Edinburgh, before being appointed to HM Customs and Excise, working around the Highlands. He undertook shipping duties during the First World War. In 1921, he married, returned to Lybster (1923) and then settled in Inverness (1926). He took up writing full-time in 1937 and moved to Strath Peffer the following year.

Gunn became one of the foremost novelists of the 20th century Scottish literary renaissance. Perhaps best known for Grey Coast (1926), Highland River (1937) and The Silver Darlings (1941), his work was much influenced by Highland culture and the Caithness landscape. Politically a nationalist, Gunn, in conjunction with poet Hugh MacDiarmid (1892 - 1978) and others, was a founder of the Scottish National Party.

Gunn was awarded an honorary degree by the University of Edinburgh (1948) and the Scottish Arts Council created the Neil Gunn Fellowship in 1972.

Gunn is buried in Dingwall, alongside his wife. He is remembered by a Memorial Viewpoint above Dingwall in Strath Peffer (1987) and a sculpture at Dunbeath harbour (1991).

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