Welcome to The British Literary Ballads Archive, a site dedicated to a unique genre of literary imitations of traditional ballads. The site contains a growing archive of over 700 poems, as well as short biographical sketches of the poets who wrote them.

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George Mackay Brown, 1921-96

   Poet and writer, born and grown up in Stromness of the Orkney Islands, Scotland. He spent most of his lifetime there, except for a certain period of time to study in Edinburgh. From Orkney, he publicized more than 50 books of poems, novels, plays, essays and other writings worldwide. Brown’s multi-faceted phases of writings correspond to multiple Orcadian historical backgrounds, which are certainly in common with present world realities. Such islands’ cultural milieus are where he explored the roles and ‘poetentiality’(H.G.Widdowson) of the poet. Readers are intrigued to share his explorations. The year of 2021 falls on Brown’s centenary of birth and a quarter century of death.   (A. K.)


1. The Ballad of Betty Mouat
2. A Ballad of Gow the Pirate
3. John Barleycorn
4. Three Songs from a Play