Jessie Kesson

Jessie Kesson

Born Jessie Grant Macdonald in an Inverness workhouse in 1916, Jessie Kesson was a novelist and playwright most famous for her first novel, the semi-autobiographical The White Bird Passes. She was raised in an orphanage from the age of eight, finally leaving in 1932 to go into service. However, she suffered a nervous breakdown and was sent to recuperate near Loch Ness, where she met her future husband, Johnnie Kesson.

In the 1930s and ’40s Kesson contributed to The Scots Magazine, and wrote over 30 features and plays for the BBC. In 1947 she moved to London to further her writing, supporting herself with a variety of odd jobs. Her heart, however, remained in Morayshire and Aberdeenshire. In the 1980s she was awarded honorary degrees from Dundee and Aberdeen Universities. She died in London in 1994.