The poet, novelist and short story writer, George Mackay Brown, was born in Stromness on the mainland of Orkney. When he was a teenager, he developed tuberculosis, which prevented him from taking up an active career. In his late thirties he was finally able to attend the University of Edinburgh, and became a member of the circle of distinguished poets which included Sydney Goodsir Smith and Norman MacCaig. He then returned to Orkney where he spent the rest of his life. Brown's character was gentle and melancholic and his poetry has no trace of the aggression present in the works of other Scottish poets.