2. The Year of the Whale

Seven Books by George Mackay Brown

On Monday 17 May at 7pm writer Simon W. Hall, author of The History of Orkney Literature (2010) introduced and answered questions on The Year of the Whale, George Mackay Brown’s third collection of poems, published by the Hogarth Press in 1965. Following the success of this volume, GMB began to receive commissions for work and to become financially independent as a writer.

All the poems contained in The Year of the Whale can be found in The Collected Poems of George Mackay Brown (John Murray, 2005). Most of them appear too in Poems New and Selected (The Hogarth Press, 1971) and in the US edition (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1973).

Seven Books 2 in the Centenary Book Group series, hosted by the GMB Fellowship and Orkney Library & Archive, was chaired by Yvonne Gray. If you have any comments, please email us at gmbfellows@gmail.com.

Simon W Hall

Simon W. Hall

Simon W. Hall was born and brought up in Orkney. He studied Scottish Language and Literature at Glasgow University where he was awarded the Ewing Prize for Scottish Literature. Formerly Principal Teacher of English at Kirkwall Grammar School, he was one of four Scots Language Co-ordinators seconded to Education Scotland with a remit for supporting schools in the teaching of Scots and development of Scots language resources. He is currently the Head Teacher at Westray Junior High School.

Simon is the author of The History of Orkney Literature (2010), the first full survey of the literature of the Orkney Islands. It was a joint winner of the Saltire Society’s First Book of the Year award that year and has been translated into Japanese. He has made Orkney language translations of Julia Donaldson’s popular books for children, The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo’s Child, published as The Orkney Gruffalo (Itchy Coo, 2015) and The Gruffalo’s Bairn (Itchy Coo, 2016). Simon writes poetry and fiction and blogs at brisknortherly.wordpress.com.

He is currently writing a novel, for which he has received Open Project Funding from Creative Scotland.


Seven Books

If you would like to attend a session, please request a Zoom link for the one you would like to attend: gmbfellows@gmail.com

If you would like to ask a question about any of the books featured, please email gmbfellows@gmail.com

7pm Monday 19 April 2021 

Ron Ferguson: Magnus

7pm Monday 17 May 2021

Simon Hall: The Year of the Whale

7pm Monday 7 June 2021

Pamela Beasant: Letters from Hamnavoe

7pm Thursday 29 July 2021

Morag MacInnes, Fiona MacInnes and Anne Bevan: Bairns’ Stories

7pm Monday 11 October 2021

Malachy Tallack: Simple Fire: Selected Short Stories

8pm Thursday 14 October 2021

Linden Bicket and Kirsteen McCue: An Orkney Tapestry

7pm Monday 18 October 2021

Maggie Fergusson: For the Islands I Sing

Return to GMB Centenary 2021

Featured image: photograph of George Mackay Brown (detail) by Gunnie Moberg courtesy Orkney Library and Archive

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