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Into the Mountain: A Life of Nan Shepherd

599 pages8 hours


In the 1930s, the writer and poet, Nan Shepherd was one of North-East Scotland’s best known literati. Three novels, The Quarry Wood, The Weatherhouse and A Pass in the Grampians and a volume of poetry, In the Cairngorms, published between 1928 and 1934 while she was still only in her thirties, established her reputation as one of the most highly respected members of the Scottish modernist movement.

Currently best known for her masterpiece of mountain literature The Living Mountain, (first published in 1977) Nan Shepherd, who died in 1981 has been in the news recently. Her image now graces the new Scottish £5 note; The Living Mountain has become a classic and sells in its thousands.

Nan Shepherd lived all her life in Deeside, yet few people, even in Scotland, seem to have heard of her. But then, indifferent to celebrity, Nan Shepherd had a talent for silence. Elusive, enigmatic, she was reticent about herself, even to those who were lifelong friends. Long overdue, this first biography, unravels some of the mysteries, dispels some of the rumours and gives insight into the life and work of this perceptive and intensely private woman. 

The author, Charlotte Peacock has been as successful in finding her way into the life of her subject as Nan herself was in “finding her way into the mountains”. The writer has had unparalleled access to all Nan’s archives and to all her remaining friends and acquaintances. The result is a beautifully written biography that will surely become the standard life of Nan Shepherd

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