Biography of James Leslie Mitchell

Lewis Grassic Gibbon

James Leslie Mitchell wrote under the pen name of Lewis Grassic Gibbon, which was his mother's maiden name. He was born in 1901 at Auchterless, Aberdeenshire.

He moved with his family to Arbuthnott.

He attended Mackie Academy in Stonehaven.

James Leslie Mitchell went to work in journalism in Aberdeen, Glasgow and London for publications such as Scottish Farmer.

He joined the RAF after being sacked from his journalist job and left in 1928 to become a full time writer. He wrote 17 books, two short story books,

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I have published a book which tells the story of an Aberdonian military nurse who returns from Afghanistan and encounters The Grey Lady Ghost of the Cambridge Military Hospital. The novel reveals her origins and takes him to a pre-war Duthie Park, modern day Cruden Bay and back to the past to the Battle of Loos in World War One where he witnesses the Gordon Highlanders in action. This is the first in the series of Grey and Scarlet Novels by me, CG Buswell, and each book will feature a well known Aberdeen ghost and Aberdeenshire area as well as modern Scottish Infantry in action. Read the first chapter for free.

James Leslie Mitchell died in 1935 from a perforated ulcer, he was interned at Arbuthnott Churchyard.

Lewis Grassic Gibbon was most famed for his trilogy, A Scots Quair, which consisted of the books Sunset Song, Cloud Howe and Grey Granite.

The Books Of Lewis Grassic Gibbon

His other works were:

Hanno: or the Future of Exploration
Stained Radiance: A Fictionist's Prelude
The Thirteenth Disciple
Sunset Song
The Calends of Cairo
Three Go Back
Persian Dawns, Egyptian Nights
The Lost Trumpet
Image and Superscription
Cloud Howe
The Conquest of the Maya
Niger: The Life of Mungo Park
Gay Hunter
Scottish Scene
Nine Against the Unknown
Grey Granite
The Speak of the Mearns

In 2005 Sunset Song was voted as the Best Scottish Book of all time.

Lewis Grassic Gibbon Recital

On the evening of the 19 August 2007 there was a Lewis Grassic Gibbon Recital at the Lewis Grassic Gibbon centre in Arbuthnott. It starred Aberdonian actor David Rintoul and his wife Vivien Heilbron. Aberdeenshire author Jack Webster wrote the script. Vivien Heilbron was the actress who played the part of Chris Guthrie in the TV adaptation of Lewis Grassic Gibbon's book Sunset Song in 1971.

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The Life of Grassic Gibbon

The Life of Grassic Gibbon was produced and staged at HMT Aberdeen on Tuesday 25 to Wednesday 26 March 2008. It starred Vivien Heilbron who was the lead actress in Sunset Song on the BBC in 1971 where she played Chris Guthrie. The Life of Grassic Gibbon was written by Aberdonian journalist and writer Jack Webster. It also starred the actor Michael McKenzie. A special guest in the audience of The Life of Grassic Gibbon was the son of Lewis Grassic Gibbon (real name James Leslie Mitchell) Daryll Mitchell who was 11 months old when his father died in 1935. Unfortunately his journey to Aberdeen from his home in Devon was fraught with problems such as plane trouble at Bradford Airport making him miss the first half of the show on the opening night. However he was able to stay in Aberdeen the next day and visit Arbuthnott and Broomfield the home of his grandparents. Daryll Mitchell was then able to watch the whole of the second performance of The Life of Grassic Gibbon. Jack Webster delighted the audience after the show by announcing that Grassic Gibbon's son was in the audience and then went on to announce the engagement of lead actress Vivien Heilbron to Aberdonian actor David Rintoul, most famous for his role in the TV series Doctor Findlay.

It is hoped that The Life of Grassic Gibbon could be turned into a BBC radio play and may be staged at the Fringe Festival. e

The Lewis Grassic Gibbon Centre Arbuthnott

The Lewis Grassic Gibbon Centre can be found at in Arbuthnott

The Grassic Gibbon Centre
AB30 1PB

Telephone: (01561) 361668


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