Jessie Kesson banner


In her own words:

"Even if I write about Scotland I don't use Scottish themes. It's the Scottish words I love. The language seems to have more strength."


The Association for Scottish Literary Studies
- B & W
Black and White Publishing
- Chapman
Scotland's Quality Literary Magazine
- Elphinstone Inst
University of Aberdeen's Institute for the traditions of North and North East Scotland
- Screivins
the website of Sheena Blackhall, Makar for Aberdeen and the North East



Jessie Kesson, one of the North East of Scotland's finest writers, was born Jessie Grant McDonald, in Inverness on 29 October 1916. Jessie's harsh early life has been well documented. She grew up with her mother, Liz, in an Elgin slum, never having known her father. At the age of ten, she was taken from her mother and sent to an orphanage in Skene, Aberdeenshire.

After leaving Skene School she entered domestic service, and in 1934 moved to an Aberdeenshire farm with her husband Johnnie, who was a cottar. She combined a successful writing career with a variety of jobs, from hospital cleaner to artist’s model, and was a social worker for nearly twenty years, living in London with her family.

The early years of her life influenced much of her writing. Her work includes the novels The White Bird Passes (1958), made into an award-winning film in 1980, Glitter of Mica (1963), Another Time, Another Place (1983), which also became a prize-winning film, and the collection of short stories Where the Apple Ripens (1985). In addition, she wrote poetry, newspaper features, and plays for radio and television. Jessie Kesson died in 1994.