John Joy Bell

(J.J. Bell)

1871 - 1934

Author. Born in Hillhead (Glasgow), the eldest son of a tobacco manufacturer, Bell was educated at Kelvinside Academy and Morrison's Academy in Crieff, before studying science at the University of Glasgow. He became a journalist, working for the Evening Times in Glasgow, and was appointed sub-editor of the Scots Pictorial in 1896. However, he is best remembered for his comic creation Wee Macgreegor, the diminutive but irrepressible son of respectable working-class Glaswegians, which first appeared in the Evening Times in 1901. These stories were skillfully written in the Glasgow vernacular and soon became highly popular, later published as a book and even becoming the basis for a film. Bell was a prolific writer producing a large number of other books throughout his career, although he was criticised for his tendency to depict appealing Glaswegian characters and sentimental plot lines which were at odds with the darker realism of inter-war writing. Yet, his popularity was undeniable.

He was a close friend of the novelist and journalist Neil Munro (1864 - 1930) and spent his later years in Aberdeen. Bell lies buried in the kirkyard of St. Machar's Cathedral in that city.

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