John Manson at the 2012 Fletcher Awards
For almost seventy years John Manson supported Hugh MacDiarmid’s initiatives to break the hegemony of English Literature in Scotland and to extend Scottish interests outwards to world literature. Translation into Scots from European languages was always seen as an integral part of this programme.
John Manson was born in 1932 in Caithness where his parents were crofters. In his early twenties his mother and he moved to a croft in Sutherland, the county from which his great-grandmother had been cleared. He has also lived in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, Motherwell, Roxburghshire, Cumbria, Edinburgh, Fife, and for the past 33 years in Galloway.
In 1995 he became the first recipient of a Scottish Arts Council bursary for translation. John’s publication, ‘Dear Grieve’ (an astounding work of scholarly dedication, collecting as it does, all the letters of note received by Hugh MacDiarmid/Christopher Grieve in his lifetime) has been the result of a decade of selfless study and research, and is no doubt destined to become the standard academic tome when considering MacDiarmid’s vast correspondence.
The Saltire Society was pleased to award an Andrew Fletcher of Saltoun Award to John Manson in recognition of his outstanding contribution to Scotland's life and culture in April 2012 at the National Library of Scotland.