Robert Louis Stevenson was a Scottish travel writer, poet, and novelist. A popular writer in his lifetime, Stevenson went about traveling widely and writing prolifically even as he suffered from bronchial trouble; his will power and love for writing won the hearts of many other writers. In 2018, he was ranked as the world's 26th-most-translated author.
Donovan is a Scottish guitarist, singer, and songwriter. He is best known for developing and popularizing a distinctive and eclectic style that blended many genres, such as folk, jazz, pop, calypso, and psychedelic rock. Donovan was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame, in 2012 and 2014, respectively.
Walter Scott was a Scottish novelist, poet, historian, and playwright. Scott's ability as a writer and his knowledge of history made him a pioneering figure in the formation of the historical novel genre. An influential writer, many of his works remain classics of Scottish as well as English-language literature. Scott was admired by other prominent writers like Letitia Elizabeth Landon.
Better known by his pseudonym, Fish, Scottish rock singer Derek William Dick first gained fame as part of the British band Marillion. Known for hits such as Kayleigh, he later also had a successful solo career. He once revealed how he almost died twice, from skin-infection-induced blood poisoning.
Best known for his collections of folklore, fairy tales, and legends, Scottish author and Merton College fellow Andrew Lang was also an avid historian and anthropologist who coined the term psychical research. His The World of Homer and his translations of Homer’s works remain invaluable to Homerian students.
Best known for his picaresque novels such as The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle, Scottish novelist Tobias Smollett was born into a family of lawyers and soldiers and initially attended medical training. Some believe he quit university without a degree, while it is also said he had served as a navy surgeon.
Known as The Great Montrose, James Graham, 1st Marquess of Montrose was not just a Scottish nobleman and military leader but also a talented poet. He won many battles for Charles I but was defeated in the Battle of Carbisdale, following which he was hanged to death in the Edinburgh marketplace.
Christopher Murray Grieve, better known by his pseudonym, Hugh MacDiarmid, was one of the pillars of the 20th-century Scottish literary renaissance. Initially a journalist, he later focused on writing poetry, but rejected English and wrote in "synthetic Scots" instead. His best-known work remains A Drunk Man Looks at the Thistle.
Joanna Baillie was a Scottish dramatist and poet who recieved critical acclaim for her works, such as Fugitive Verses and Plays on the Passions. One of her most popular works DeMonfort helped inspire Byron's drama, Manford. Baillie was also known for her philanthropic efforts; she donated half her earnings to charity and took an active part in several philanthropic activities.
Scottish poet Thomas Campbell is best known for his emotional war poems and songs, such as Ye Mariners of England. He was also one of the men behind the formation of University College London. Though he initially intended to study law, he later ended up writing some of the best patriotic lyrics.
Alasdair Gray was a Scottish artist and writer whose works have inspired several other prominent writers like Irvine Welsh, Alan Warner, Janice Galloway, Chris Kelso, and A. L. Kennedy. His first novel Lanark, which was published in 1981, is viewed as a watershed in the history of Scottish fiction. He also painted murals, including one at the Hillhead subway station.
Harry The Minstrel, or Blind Harry, was a 15th-century Scottish poet, best known for his iconic poem The Wallace. He finds mention in a lot of literary works, such as The Lament for the Makaris by William Dunbar. Blind since birth, he mostly went around collecting legends about Scottish knight Sir William Wallace.
Known for authoring books such as Memoirs of a Spacewoman and The Conquered, Naomi Mitchison was also a driven socialist. She served as an advisor to Botswana’s Bakgatla tribe and had also been a farmer. Honored with numerous awards and honorary doctorates, she lived till age 101.
John Galt was a Scottish entrepreneur, novelist, and social and political commentator. Often referred to as the first English-language political novelist, Galt wrote extensively on issues pertaining to the Industrial Revolution. John Galt is also known as the father of Sir Alexander Tilloch Galt, who went on to become one of the fathers of the Canadian Confederation.
Welsh-born Scottish author Eric Linklater is best remembered for his award-winning children’s book The Wind on the Moon. Initially a student of medicine, he later switched to English literature. He had also been part pf the Scottish military and later also became a military historian.
Once the court poet of King James IV of Scotland, William Dunbar remains one of the most reputed Chaucerians of his time. Known for allegorical pieces such as The Goldyn Targe, he also penned works such as Flyting of Dunbar and Kennedie, directed against his rival Walter Kennedy.
Edwin Muir was a Scottish novelist, poet, and translator best remembered for his vivid and deeply felt poetry written with few stylistic preoccupations. A prolific translator, Muir was honored with the prestigious Johann-Heinrich-Voss Translation Award in 1958.
One of the last of the great poets of the Scottish literary renaissance, Edwin Morgan became the first Glasgow Poet Laureate, was named the National Poet of Scotland, and was once invited to pen a poem to open the Scottish Parliament. The gay poet revealed his sexuality through love poems such as Strawberries.
Born to an Orkney postman, Scottish poet George Mackay Brown was known for reflecting the Orkneyan life through his works. Apart from releasing poetry collections such as Loaves and Fishes, he also penned many short stories and the Booker Prize-shortlisted novel Beside the Ocean of Time.
Horatius Bonar was a Scottish poet and churchman. In addition to being a highly popular and voluminous author, Bonar also played a major role in the development of the Church of Scotland. Also a prodigious hymnodist, Horatius Bonar wrote several hymns that became popular throughout the English-speaking world.
Norman MacCaig was a Scottish teacher and poet whose poetry is renowned for its simplicity of language and humor. MacCaig's poems achieved immense popularity and were often praised by fellow poets like Douglas Dunn and Hugh MacDiarmid. He published his poems throughout his life and won several prestigious awards like the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry and the Cholmondeley Award.
Sorley Maclean was a Scottish poet best remembered for his immense contribution to Gaelic poetry. Widely regarded as one of the most important Scottish poets of his generation, MacLean's poetry had a major impact on the Gaelic-speaking world. His poetry also influenced contemporary poets like Hugh MacDiarmid and earned him several prestigious awards like the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry.
William Alexander, 1st Earl of Stirling, was a Scottish poet and courtier. Before starting his career as a poet, William served as a teacher to Archibald Campbell, 7th Earl of Argyll. He then established himself as one of the most acclaimed poets in early 17th century England and Scotland. His literary works attracted praises from the likes of Andrew Ramsey.
Aneirin was a Brythonic war poet best remembered for his medieval Welsh poem, Y Gododdin. Believed to have been a court poet or bard in a Cumbric kingdom in present-day Scotland, Aneirin is often referred to as the prince of bards. His works are preserved in a manuscript called the Book of Aneirin.
John Barbour was a Scottish poet best remembered for his magnum opus The Brus, which earned him ten pounds Scots in 1377 at the royal court of Robert II. Often referred to as the father of Scots poetry, John Barbour was the first major literary figure to publish his works in Scots.
Robert Fergusson was a Scottish poet whose works had a major impact on contemporary poet and lyricist Robert Burns. Although Fergusson's career was brief, he achieved immense popularity for his work in the Scots language. He died at the age of 24 and the brutal circumstances of his demise inspired the creation of the Royal Edinburgh Hospital.
Robert Henryson was a poet who found success in Scotland between 1460 and 1500 AD. Many of his works, including the famous Morall Fabillis, were composed in Middle Scots. Although little is known about Henryson, evidence suggests that he had training in the humanities and law. It is also said that Henryson might have worked as a teacher as well.
David Lyndsay was a Scottish herald and poet whose literary work is often counted among the finest of the Renaissance. A well-known makar, David Lyndsay is depicted among the 16 Scottish poets and writers on the famous Scott Monument in Edinburgh.
William Drummond was a Scottish poet best remembered for his work the Cypresse Grove. An influential and important poet of his generation, Drummond is among the 16 Scottish writers and poets whose faces have been carved on the Scott Monument in Edinburgh.
Thomas Pringle was a Scottish poet, writer, and abolitionist. He became the first English language author and poet to describe South Africa's living conditions, native peoples, and scenery for which he is often referred to as the father of South African poetry. Thomas Pringle is also remembered for his association with the Anti-Slavery Society where he served as the secretary.
Lady Anne Barnard was a Scottish socialite, artist, and travel writer. She is best remembered for her five-year stay in Cape Town, during which she wrote a series of letters to Viscount Melville. Her letters became a prominent source of information about social life in South Africa at the time. She is also remembered for her ballad Auld Robin Gray.
Angus Calder was a Scottish poet, historian, and writer. In addition to his literary works, Calder is also remembered for holding teaching positions in several universities. Also a prominent socialist, Angus Calder was often counted among the most important Scottish intellectuals during the '70s and '80s.
Thomas Brown was a Scottish poet and philosopher best remembered for his contribution to the development of the Scottish school of common sense. Among his most important work is a critique of the theory of transmutation by Erasmus Darwin. Titled Observations on the zoonomia of Erasmus Darwin, his critique was praised as a mature work by several scholars and critics.
John Davidson was a Scottish poet, novelist, and playwright best remembered for his ballads. A prolific writer, Davidson's work influenced several Modernist poets like Wallace Stevens and Hugh MacDiarmid. John Davidson's financial troubles as well as mental and physical health problems culminated in his suicide by drowning on 23 March 1909 at the age of 51.
Douglas Dunn is a Scottish academic, poet, and critic. He is best known for his collection of poems, Terry Street, which was honored with the Somerset Maugham Award and the Scottish Arts Council Book Award in 1969. Douglas Dunn is also known for his association with the University of St Andrews, where he is currently serving as an Honorary Professor.
Iain Crichton Smith was a Scottish novelist and poet best remembered for his 1968 novel Consider the Lilies. Before starting his career as a full-time writer, Smith worked as a teacher; he taught in places like Dumbarton, Oban, and Clydebank from 1952 to 1977. Also a translator, Iain Crichton Smith translated some of Sorley Maclean's work from Gaelic to English.
Robert Blair was a Scottish poet best remembered for his magnum opus The Grave, which was later illustrated by popular painter and printmaker William Blake. The poem, which is written in blank verse, achieved great popularity and led to the graveyard school of poetry. In addition to writing poems, Blair also enjoyed gardening and studying the works of other poets.
Alastair Reid was a Scottish poet best remembered for his lighthearted style of poetry. A scholar of South American literature, Reid is also known for his translations of the works of popular South American poets like Pablo Neruda and Jorge Luis Borges. Alastair Reid also worked as a teacher and contributed immensely as a writer for The New Yorker magazine.
Allan Cunningham was a Scottish author and poet best remembered for his immense contribution to the London Magazine during its salad days in the 1820s. A prolific songwriter, Cunningham also contributed to Eugenius Roche's Literary Recreations. In addition to his poems and songs, Allan Cunningham also wrote novels and biographies of popular figures like Sir Joshua Reynolds and William Blake.
Andrew of Wyntoun was a Scottish poet best remembered for his chronicler, The Orygynale Cronykil of Scotland. His work is considered an important historical source for the late-14th and early-15th centuries. Andrew, who also served as a canon of St. Andrews, is credited with being one of the earliest English language writers to use the word Catholic in his work.
William Soutar was a Scottish diarist and poet who wrote in Braid Scots and English. Best known for his epigrams, Soutar was one of the most important members of a literary movement called The Scottish Renaissance. Widely regarded as one of the greatest Scottish poets of all time, Soutar helped inspire the works of classical composer and conductor James MacMillan.
George MacBeth was a Scottish novelist and poet best remembered as one of the most important members of an informal group of poets known as The Group. As a novelist, MacBeth created the popular character Cadbury, who appeared in a series of thrillers. An influential and popular writer, George MacBeth was honored with the prestigious Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize.
Though born to a weaver, Michael Bruce had started reading before turning 4. Best known for works such as Elegy Written in Spring, he died at the tender age of 21. It is believed, poet John Logan stole most of Bruce’s works and passed them off as his own.
Robert Aytoun was a Scottish poet who wrote in English, Greek, and Latin. Best remembered for his work Diophantus and Charidora, Aytoun was a popular figure among his contemporaries in England and Scotland. In 1612, Robert Aytoun was knighted for his achievements and contribution to literature.
Alexander Montgomerie was a Scottish poet and courtier best remembered as one of the most important members of the Castalian Band, a group of poets in James VI's court; the group included the king himself. Widely regarded as the king's favorite, Montgomerie wrote poems that explored complex themes like love. His works have drawn comparisons with writers like George Herbert.
Scottish author John Barclay was the son of a renowned jurist. His iconic Latin long poem Argenis was a major influence on 17th-century romance. He was part of several literary societies in Rome. He is also remembered for his satire on Jesuits, Euphormionis Lusinini Satyricon, which was a precursor to the picaresque novel.
Mostly known for his religious poems, Scottish poet Alexander Hume was initially a lawyer. Disinterested with the corrupt legal system of his time, he joined the Logie Kirk church as a minister. He later served the Church of Scotland as its Moderator of the General Assembly.