Biography

Nan Shepherd (1893 - 1981) : Anna (Nan) Shepherd was born in 1893. She grew up in Aberdeenshire, was educated at Aberdeen High School for Girls, and the University of Aberdeen, and spent most of her life there. After her graduation in 1915, she lectured English literature at Aberdeen College until 1956, when she retired.

Shepherd’s work has contributed strongly to the Modernist fiction of Scotland. Her novels, The Quarry Wood and The Weatherhouse are insightful narratives about female self realisation – appearing well before Grassic Gibbon’s famous Sunset Song - dealing with the very real pressures on those who are forced to care for others, or whose love remains unrequited. Shepherd, similar to Willa Muir and Anna Buchan, hints at options of emotional fulfilment outside heterosexual union.

She also wrote the novel A Pass in the Grampians, a volume of poetry called In the Cairngorms, as well as a ‘prose meditation’ on the Cairgorms, The Living Mountain.

Shepherd edited the Aberdeen University Review after her retirement, and gave great encouragement and support to other writers. In 1964, she was given an honorary degree from Aberdeen University, and she died in 1981.