Record

CodeNA8726
Dates1909-2002
Person NameBruce; George (1909-2002); poet and broadcaster
SurnameBruce
ForenamesGeorge
Epithetpoet and broadcaster
ActivityGeorge Bruce was born in Fraserburgh on 10 March 1909 and was educated at Fraserburgh Academy and Aberdeen University. His father, Henry George Bruce, a Fraserburgh herring curer, persuaded him to reject the offer of a trial for Arsenal Football Club, ensuring thereby that he would take up his place at Aberdeen University. There he was awarded an MA, first class, in English in 1932. After training he taught English at Dundee High School, 1934-1946, before joining the BBC. He was general programmes editor for BBC Aberdeen, 1946-1956, and then features editor and later senior producer for BBC Edinburgh, 1956-1970. He edited the radio programme 'Scottish Life and Letters' for twenty-one years. In Edinburgh he produced 'Arts Review' on radio and co-presented 'Counterpoint', Scotland's first television arts programme. Bruce retired from the BBC in 1970 and became the first fellow in creative writing at Glasgow University, 1971-1973. Other fellowships and visiting professorships in Australia and North America followed.

'Sea Talk', his first published collection of poems, came out in 1944. It was followed in 1947 by 'Selected Poems', in 1967 by 'Landscapes and Figures', and thereafter by another five volumes, culminating in 'Today, Tomorrow' (2001). Though the greater part of his output was in English, he could as readily write in Scots, and increasingly did so in later years. Among numerous other publications were 'Festival in the North' (1975), written in his capacity as official historian of the Edinburgh Festival, histories of the Saltire Society and the Cockburn Association, and studies of Ann Redpath, Neil Gunn, and William Soutar. He edited six anthologies of poetry and an anthology of letters, 'A Scottish Postbag' (1986), was executive editor of 'The Scottish Review' 1975-1976, and theatre and literary critic for 'The Sunday Times' for twelve years. Bruce received awards from the Scottish Arts Council, 1967 and 1971, received honorary doctorates from the College of Wooster, Ohio, 1977, and the University of Aberdeen, 2000, and was awarded an OBE in 1984. He was also made an Honorary Member of the Saltire Society, 1992 and Honorary President of the Scottish Poetry Library, 1992. George Bruce died in Edinburgh 25 July 2002.
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