Brown, Margaret Gillies 1929–
Brown, Margaret Gillies 1929–
(Margaret Isobel Gillies Brown)
PERSONAL: Born July 29, 1929, in Longniddry, near Edinburgh, Scotland; daughter of Henry (a grain merchant) and Jessie Isobel Pollock; married Ronald Gillies (deceased); married Henry Brown, July 6, 1984 (died October 2, 2004); children: (first marriage) Richard, Michael, Ronald, Mahri-Louise, Grant, Lindsay, Kathleen. Ethnicity: "Scottish." Education: Dundee Royal Infirmary, registered nurse, 1953. Politics: "Changeable." Religion: Protestant. Hobbies and other interests: "Anything to do with nature and preservation of the countryside," travel, reading.
ADDRESSES: Home—Errol, Perthshire, Scotland. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Dundee Royal Infirmary, Dundee, Scotland, nurse, 1949–53; writer, 1953–. Also gives workshops and readings.
MEMBER: International PEN, Society of Authors.
AWARDS, HONORS: Book awards from Scottish Arts Council for Looking towards Light and Far from the Rowan Tree.
POETRY, EXCEPT WHERE INDICATED
Give Me the Hill-Run Boys, Outposts (Walton-on-Thames, England), 1978.
The Voice in the Marshes, Outposts (Walton-on-Thames, England), 1979.
Hares on the Horizon, Outposts (Walton-on-Thames, England), 1981.
No Promises, Akros (Nottingham, England), 1984.
Looking towards Light, Blind Serpent (Dundee, Scotland), 1988.
Footsteps of the Goddess, Akros (Nottingham, England), 1991.
Far from the Rowan Tree (autobiography), Argyll (Glendaruel, Scotland), 1997.
Around the Rowan Tree (autobiography) Argyll (Glendaruel, Scotland), 1999.
Of Rowan and Pearl, Argyll (Glendaruel, Scotland), 2000.
The Wind in Her Hands (biography), Argyll (Glendaruel, Scotland), 2002.
Work represented in anthologies, including An Anthology of Scottish Women Poets, Edinburgh University Press (Edinburgh, Scotland). Contributor of poetry to periodicals.
SIDELIGHTS: Margaret Gillies Brown told CA: "I wrote my first piece of verse when I was four years old, whereupon my mother told me I was going to be a poet. I liked the idea and wrote pieces of both verse and prose when I was young. I was a sickly child and rarely at school, but I was taught by my mother, who had a master's degree. From an early age, I was much influenced by her love of literature. In my late teens, I intended to go in for journalism but gave up the idea and went into the nursing profession instead. After gaining my degree, I married a farmer and went to live on a sheep farm. Five years and three children later we moved to an isolated farm in Canada's then-frontier land of Alberta. After three years, because of the illness of my father-in-law, we returned to a farm here in Scotland, where I have lived ever since. Now I am surrounded by family, which has grown to thirty-five members.
"Apart from a brief period, while on the lonely farm in Alberta, I didn't return to writing until around the age of forty-five, when the youngest of my seven children had just gone to school. Poetry was what I returned to—my first love. I attended a creative writing class for awhile, after which a few of us set up the Perthshire Writers' Group, which is going strong to this day. I was lucky to have early success with poetry and to be taken up by Howard Sergeant of Outposts, who published my first three collections. After he died Duncan Glen of Akros published two collections for me, and I had another by Blind Serpent Press of Dundee.
"What I like to get down in poetry is what amazes me—in the hope that one or two readers will see things as I do. I also had a lot of poems printed in magazines and anthologies. When life got a little easier I started to write a book about our traumatic time in Canada. It took some time to find a publisher, but was finally taken up by Argyll Publishing. It was an instant success in Scotland, especially in Perthshire, where it stood at the top of the ten best-sellers in the Perthshire Advertiser for five months and was reprinted twice in paperback. There followed two other books of prose and one of poetry, all published by Argyll. Unfortunately Argyll is publishing very little at the moment, due to other commitments."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Brown, Margaret Gillies, Far from the Rowan Tree, Argyll (Glendaruel, Scotland), 1997.
Brown, Margaret Gillies, Around the Rowan Tree, Argyll (Glendaruel, Scotland), 1999.