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James Barke


James Barke was born in 1905 in Torwoodlee, near Galashiels. His father was a dairyman and his mother a dairymaid. When Barke was two, the family moved to Tulliallan, Fife and then, when he was thirteen, to Glasgow. He trained as an engineer and worked for a Glasgow shipbuilding and engineering firm, becoming manager of its brickworks, while he was starting to write. He became a committed socialist and this can be seen on some of his work, particularly Major Operation. After World War II, he resigned from his job in Glasgow and moved to Ayrshire, where he worked on his The Immortal Memory series, based on the life of Robert Burns. The series was successful though Burns enthusiasts were often critical. After an unsuccessful stint as a hotel keeper, he returned to Glasgow but died three years later, in 1958. Most of his work is now out of print and he is relatively unknown, even in Scotland, though Canongate did republish his Land of the Leal.

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James Barke
James Barke


1933 The World His Pillow (novel)
1934 The Wild Mac-Raes (novel)
1935 The End of the High Bridge (novel)
1936 Major Operation (novel)
1939 The Land of the Leal (novel)
1940 The Green Hills Far Away (novel)
1946 The Wind that Shakes the Barley (first in The Immortal Memory series) (novel)
1947 The Song in the Green Thorn Tree (second in The Immortal Memory series) (novel)
1949 The Wonder of All the Gay World (third in The Immortal Memory series) (novel)
1953 The Crest of the Broken Wave (fourth in The Immortal Memory series) (novel)
1954 The Well of the Silent Harp (fifth in The Immortal Memory series) (novel)
1959 Bonnie Jean (novel of the life of Burns’ wife) (novel)