Begotten | Mary Johnston
Mary Johnston née Mackie was born in 1934 and brought up in rural Aberdeenshire. Doric was the only language she heard until she went to school, where she was chastised for speaking it, and had to learn to speak 'Proper', i.e. English. The Doric she speaks is that of her grandparents, born in the late 1800s. It is extremely musical, yet powerful and precise.
Those fortunate enough to have heard Mary read her work aloud, either on recordings or, even better, live, know how well she communicates the meaning of her poems to her listeners, even if some of the words are unfamiliar to them.
She has lived in Midlothian for the past 40 years and when not writing poetry or short stories passes the time translating Grimm's Fairy tales into the Doric—only twenty of the two hundred still to do!
Her poetry, short stories and translations have been widely published in magazines, anthologies, books and pamphlets.
'Nae mony hae the flow o Scots or the wye wi werds you hae' —Sheena Blackhall
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