Magnus Linklater

Myth & Reality:
The Nature of Scottish Identity

Saltire Series No.4

Journalist and author Magnus Linklater explores and challenges some of the oft quoted qualities attributed to Scots and Scotland. He says;

‘Do the traditional values that are said to define Scottishness still hold good, or do some of them, on analysis, turn out to be vapour-thin myths, endlessly repeated but barely sustainable? Have the milestones of Scottish history and tradition become so eroded through time that we can scarcely make out any longer what they tell us?’

Executive Director of the Saltire Society Jim Tough said;

‘This fascinating exploration of Scottish identity offers a fresh take on a fascinating and very current topic. It’s the fourth of our new Saltire Series of pamphlets asserting our proper position as a platform for free and independent thinking on the issues that matter most to Scotland today. We believe our role as an independent, apolitical cultural commentator is as vital today as it ever was.’ 

Magnus Linklater

Writer and broadcaster. Born at Harray (Orkney), the son of author Eric Linklater (1899 - 1974). Linklater was brought up in Easter Ross and educated at Nigg, Dunbar, Eton and Cambridge, spending time in France and Germany. Making a career in journalism, he has worked for The Daily Express, Observer and Sunday Times and served as Editor of The Scotsman (1988-94). Linklater was appointed Chairman of the Scottish Arts Council (1996 - 2001). He continues to write for newspapers and has been the author of several books, including The Falklands War (1982), Massacre - The Story of Glencoe (1982), Not With Honour - The Inside Story of the Westland Scandal (1986), For King and Conscience - John Graham of Claverhouse, Viscount Dundee (1989), Anatomy of Scotland (1992), Highland Wilderness (1993) and People in a Landscape - The New Highlanders (1997).  He holds honorary degrees from Napier University (1994) and the Universities of Aberdeen (1997) and Glasgow (2001), and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.  Magnus Linklater lives in Edinburgh.


The Saltire Series will see a succession of provocations from individuals to spark fresh thinking, ignite debate and challenge our orthodoxies in today’s Scotland.

We are;

  • An apolitical membership organisation open to all
  • An international supporter and patron of the arts and cultural heritage of Scotland
  • A champion of free speech on the issues that matter to the cultural life of every Scot
  • A promoter of the best of what we are culturally, now and in the future
  • A catalyst to ensure new ideas are considered and the best of them are made real

The Saltire Series is an important part of the Society’s work as an advocate and as a place for diverse voices to be heard.


Pamphlets can be purchased at £5.00 (£4.00 for members) each from our HQ

Tel. 0131 556 1836