Caithness novelist Neil Gunn died - On this day in history


15 January 2020
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Scottish novelist Neil M Gunn, author of The Silver Darlings, died on 15 January 1973.

Caithness author Neil M Gunn, author of The Silver Darlings, died on 15 January 1973. Gunn wrote more than twenty novels, many of which were set in the Highland communities close to his Caithness birthplace. Gunn’s fascination with the sea was also a feature of his works – his father was captain of a herring boat. He was extremely proud of his Scottish roots and became interested in politics after meeting fellow writers in London. He joined the National Party of Scotland and became a keen supporter of Scottish nationalism.

Gunn's first literary success came from his short stories, which were published in literary magazines. He was published by Porpoise Press, founded by fellow Scottish writers George Blake and George Malcolm Thomson.

Neil Gunn timeline

  • 8 November 1891 - Born in Dunbeath, Caithness
  • 1910 - Became a customs and excise officer
  • 1921 - Married Jessie Dallas Frew
  • 1926 - First novel The Grey Coast published
  • 1937 - Awarded the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Highland River
  • 1941 - The Silver Darlings published
  • 15 January 1973 - Neil Gunn died at the age of 81

Gunn is remembered by a memorial at Strathpeffer, and is commemorated at Makar's Court in Edinburgh.