Robert McLellan lived from 28 January 1907 to 1985. He was a dramatist and poet who specialised in using the Scots language. The wider picture in Scotland at the time is set out in our Historical Timeline.
Robert McLellan was born on his grandparent's fruit farm in the Clyde Valley on the outskirts of Lanark. He was educated at Bearsden Academy an then at the University of Glasgow, though he did not complete his studies due to ill health. In 1938 he married Kathleen Heys, who he had met while climbing in the Lake District, and they settled on the Isle of Arran.
McLellan focused on writing in Scots, saying in a 1956 interview: "When I found that what I wanted most to do in life was to write for a Scottish Theatre I knew that I should always be poor, but I consoled myself with the thought that I could at least live where I liked." McLellan served in the Royal Artillery during the Second World War. The Scotland he returned to had many possibilities for a talented dramatist. A number of his plays were performed by the Glasgow Unity Theatre, including Torwatletie in 1946 and The Flouers o Edinburgh in 1948. McLellan's belief in Scots as the medium for Scottish drama, and the skill with which he wrote it, helped the language regain some of the ground lost to the English language over the previous three centuries. But McLellan himself never achieved the success he deserved because of what was perceived as a limited market for plays performed in Scots.
McLellan also wrote five radio plays known as The Linmill Stories, two poetic works, The Arran Burn and Sweet Largie Bay (the latter being awarded The Scottish Arts Council's Poetry Prize in 1956), and a history of the Isle of Arran published in 1969. He was awarded the Order of the British Empire in 1978. Robert McLellan died on the Isle of Arran in 1985 and is buried there.