Anna Buchan



O. Douglas was the pen name of Anna Masterton Buchan, a Scottish novelist. She was born in Perth, Scotland, the daughter of the Reverend John Buchan and Helen Masterton. She was the younger sister of John Buchan, the renowned statesman and author. She attended Hutchesons' Grammar School in Glasgow, but lived most of her later life in Peebles in the Scottish border country, not far from the village of Broughton where her parents first met.

Her first novel Olivia in India was published in 1912 by Hodder & Stoughton. Most of her novels were written and set between the wars, and portrayed small town or village life in southern Scotland, reflecting her own life.

Unforgettable, Unforgotten (1945) is a memoir of her brother John and of the Buchan family, while Farewell to Priorsford is her autobiography, published posthumously in 1950.

Her work is displayed alongside her brother's at the John Buchan Museum in Peebles.

A contemporary review describes Olivia in India as a "happy book" and another commented: "To have read this book is to have met an extremely likeable personality in the author". This was to be the hallmark of all her fiction, gently humorous domestic dramas with little if any reference to political events or social change. Merren Strang, a character in Pink Sugar who writes novels similar to those of O. Douglas, describes her impulse to write "something very simple that would make pleasant reading — you see, there's nothing of Art for Art's sake about me". Merren later quotes one of her reviews, "'This is a book about good, gentle, scrupulous people who live on the bright side of life'", banteringly describing herself as circumscribed as a novelist by only having met decent people, and thus being unable to create convincing "ape and tiger sort of people" like the "strong novelists" of the day.


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