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Famous Scottish Writers - Part Two

Updated on June 21, 2011

Scottish writers often get thrown into the mix when English Literature is considered. Burns and Doyle and Stevenson are lined up next to Austen and Dickens and Shakespeare. But the truth of the matter is, writers from Scotland have their own unique voice. They have a dialect, culture, and perspective all their own.

Check out the famous Scottish authors listed below... I bet you didn't know they were all from Scotland! You will find short biographies, photographs, lists of notable works, as well as links to buy the writers' books on Amazon. Enjoy, and leave comments below!

Andrew Lang

Born: March 31, 1844

Died: July 20, 1912

Andrew Lang wrote poems and novels, but perhaps his most outstanding achievement was his collections of fairy tales. His many fairy books are organized into colors – such as The Red Fairy Book, The Yellow Fairy Book, and The Violet Fairy Book.

Life: Andrew Lang was born in Selkirk, Scotland in 1844. He went to school in Scotland as well as at Oxford. He became a fellow at Merton College. Lang was a renowned scholar, and his expertise penetrated mythology, classical literature, history, and more. His most beloved works, however, were in the realm of fairy stories. Lang collected many folk and fairy tales into numerous Fairy Books. In 1875, he married Leonora Blanche Alleyne, who helped him in his work. Andrew Lang died in 1912 of angina pectoris.

Notable Works:

Prose translations of Homer's Odyssey and Iliad (1879, 1883)

Custom and Myth (1884)

The Blue Fairy Book (1889)

The Mystery of Mary Stuart (1901)

Shakespeare, Bacon and the Great Unknown (1912)

George MacDonald

Born: December 10, 1824

Died: September 18, 1905

George MacDonald was a writer and pastor in the 1800s. He wrote both theological and fictional works. His fiction for children (or for the "child-like," as he would say) was and is especially loved by readers.

Life: George MacDonald was born in Huntly, Scotland in 1824. He was born the son of a farmer in a long heritage of Scots. MacDonad attended university and became a Congregational minister. His anti-Calvinist theology met with some disapproval in the church however, to the extent of being labeled heretical, and MacDonald resigned. Besides his ministerial work, MacDonald wrote a good deal of fiction and fairy tales, especially for children. He also spent some time touring America, giving lectures. He was an inspiration and encouragement to many other writers, both in life and after, including C.S. Lewis, JRR Tolkien, and Lewis Carroll. He married Louisa Powell in 1851 with whom he had eleven children. MacDonald was sickly much of his life, and he died in 1905.

Notable Works:

Phantastes (1858)

At the Back of the North Wind (1871)

The Princess and the Goblin (1872)

Sir Gibbie (1879)

Lilith (1895)


Sir Walter Scott

Born: August 15, 1771

Died: September 21, 1832

Walter Scott was an extremely popular writer, whose many works continue to be called classics. His historical fiction and poetry are considered paving stones for later literature.


Life: Sir Walter Scott was born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1771. He was a sickly child, suffering from polio which made him lame for a time. He grew up to be a lawyer, but in his twenties, he began to write and translate. He married Margaret Charpentier in 1798, and they had five children together. Scott wrote beautiful poetry and many historical novels, which were highly acclaimed during his lifetime, but have since been criticized for their unrealistic Romanticism. He was made a “Sir” in 1820. Even though he sometimes suffered financial distress, Scott continued to write for his entire life. He became ill and died in 1832.

Notable Works:

Marmion (1808)

The Lady of the Lake (1810)

Waverly (1814)

Rob Roy (1817) 

Ivanhoe (1819)


Robert Louis Stevenson

Born: November 13, 1850

Died: December 3, 1894

Robert Louis Stevenson was a novelist and poet, whose work is still widely enjoyed today. He wrote some of the best-loved adventure stories of all time, including Treasure Island.

Life: Robert Louis Stevenson was born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1850. His parents were sickly, and perhaps he inherited some of their ill-health, as he suffered sickness for much of his life. He wrote stories in his childhood, and he was first published at the age of sixteen. He went to school to study engineering, but eventually turned away from the family business – and family faith – to purse writing. Stevenson traveled the world, “falling in love” along the way, and these travels sourced much of his writing inspiration at the same time as invigorating his poor health. His travels even took him to Hawaii, where he befriended Princess Kaiulani. In 1880, Stevenson married Fanny Vandegrift Osbourne, who had three children from a previous marriage. Throughout his life, RLS struggled against neverending illness, and yet he accomplished many works of great literature. In 1894, he died of what is suspected to be a cerebral haemorrhage.

Notable Works:

Treasure Island (1883)

The Silverado Squatters (1883)

A Child's Garden of Verses (1885)

Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886) 

Kidnapped (1886)

Josephine Tey

Born: July 25, 1896

Died: February 13, 1952

Josephine Tey was a mystery writer whose real name was Elizabeth Mackintosh. She wrote a number of plays as well, under the name of Gordon Daviot.

Life: Josephine Tey (or Elizabeth Mackintosh) was born in Inverness, Scotland in 1896. She grew up to be a physical training instructor, but eventually stayed home to take care of her sick father. This extra time provided a boost to her writing. She wrote mystery novels, some portraying the hero Alan Grant, under the name Tey. She wrote plays, mostly unperformed, under the name Gordon Daviot. Her mystery novel The Daughter of Time grasped more than literary fame, as it was actually a historical defense of the alleged murderer Richard III. Josephine Tey became ill and died in 1952.

Notable Works:

The Man in the Queue (1929)

Richard of Bordeaux (1932)

The Franchise Affair (1948)

The Daughter of Time (1951)



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    • Rose West profile imageAUTHOR

      Rose West 

      9 years ago from Michigan

      NR Graham, thanks for pointing all that out... the Scots really have had a huge impact on America.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      There are also 34 American presidents from Scottish decent, our school system(based on the Scots), the most sung song at funerals and New Year's eve....All Scottish some other notables: Alexander Hamilton, george washington,Alexander Graham Bell, robert Fulton, Andrew Carnegie, the Rockfellers, Columbia Prebyterian etc,etc..there isn't an ethnic group in US that can compare and noboby knows....sad

    • Rose West profile imageAUTHOR

      Rose West 

      9 years ago from Michigan

      Hi habee, Stevenson's adventure novels are such a treat. I remember really enjoying Treasure Island and The Black Arrow.

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 

      9 years ago from Georgia

      I've loved Robert Louis Stevenson since childhood. Another great hub!

    • Rose West profile imageAUTHOR

      Rose West 

      9 years ago from Michigan

      Jane, you know that is something I always wonder about. Which came first... the writing or the sickness? Do they have anything to do with each other? Questions that stand unanswered, I guess. Thank you for reading!

    • Jane Grey profile image

      Ann Leavitt 

      9 years ago from Oregon

      It's amazing how many of these writers were "sickly." Perhaps they found writing a blessed release of their mental energies without causing too much physical exertion. Being sickly always gives one too much time to think and too much time at home, so if they were literarily inclined, it makes sense that they would turn to writing!

      Thank you for a lovely collection of biographies again! (And thanks for including George MacDonald!)

    • Rose West profile imageAUTHOR

      Rose West 

      9 years ago from Michigan

      Thanks for reading 2patricias! As it happens, this is just the second part... at the beginning you'll find the link to part one.

    • 2patricias profile image


      9 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

      An interesting list. You could have made this into 2 hubs!

    • Rose West profile imageAUTHOR

      Rose West 

      9 years ago from Michigan

      northweststarr, thanks for coming by! There were quite a few authors from Scotland; it must be a great place to be from! I'm so glad you enjoyed.

    • northweststarr profile image


      9 years ago from Washington State

      Some interesting facts! I'm a good part Scottish myself and it warms the cockles of my heart to read about all the great writers that came out of Scotland! ;)


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