Hugh MacDiarmid was one of the most important literary figures of twentieth-century Scotland and is now recognised as the principal force of the Scottish Literary Renaissance. Born in Langholm as Christopher Murray Grieve, MacDiarmid worked as a journalist before adopting his literary name. He began to write poetry in the 1920s, publishing his first collection of poems `Sangshaw? in 1925. His major work, `A Drunk Man Looks at the Thistle? appeared the following year. MacDiarmid?s vast output of poetry and prose was often controversial, and his strong political beliefs led him to co-found the National Party of Scotland, today?s SNP. Despite his reputation, MacDiarmid was never financially successful and his last twenty-seven years were spent in a modest cottage near Biggar.