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Neil M. Gunn

Neil M. Gunn was born 8th November 1891 in the village of Dunbeath. His father was a skipper and his mother a domestic servant. Gunn was the seventh of nine children and attended Dunbeath school from 1896 to 1904. He then left Dunbeath and went to school privately in Dalry, Kirkcudbrightshire, living with his sister. In 1911 aged 15 he joined the Civil Service, working in London for a few years before being transferred to Edinburgh. He then trained in Customs and Excise before being appointed Excise Officer in Inverness in 1923 working all through the highlands. In 1921 Gunn met his wife Jessie Dallas Frew (Daisy) a jeweller’s daughter. Throughout this period Gunn was writing in his spare time and in 1926 his first novel, The Grey Coast was published. Following this was Morning Tide (1931), Sun Circle (1933), Butchers Broom (1934) and Highland River in 1937. It was this year that Gunn decided to leave excise and focus full-time on writing. He wrote a number more books and in 1948 received an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws from Edinburgh University. His wife daisy died in 1963 and devastated by this Neil Gunn gave up writing. Neil Gunn himself died in 1973 aged 81 and was buried with his wife in Dingwall Cemetery. His legacy lives on through his works and through The Neil Gunn Fellowship which was formed in 1972 by the Scottish Arts Creative Council in his honour and in the Neil Gunn Society, formed in 1985.

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