John Buchan (BUHK-uhn) was a prolific writer of history and fiction, a distinguished member of Parliament, a lawyer, an editor, a director of information for the British government, a churchman, and governor general of Canada. He was born in Perth, Scotland, August 26, 1875, to a Free Church minister, John Buchan, and a farmer’s daughter, Helen Masterson Buchan. Surviving an early skull injury which kept him in bed for a year, he entered Glasgow University when he was seventeen; he then, having been awarded a scholarship, went to Brasenose College at Oxford, where he won a number of literary prizes and wrote three books.
In 1900 he went to London to study law and was admitted to the Middle Temple bar the following year. During that time he also served as a member of the editorial board of the Spectator. He began his career in public service by going with Lord Milner to South Africa, where he acquired a broadness of outlook that made him a successful administrator. Two years later he returned to England, having by that time completed five novels.
He entered into partnership with the publishers Thomas A. Nelson and Sons in 1907. He married Susan Charlotte Grosvenor and had three sons and one daughter; his wife provided him with the opportunity for writing and served as his hostess during various government assignments.
After leaving Nelson and Sons, Buchan worked for a time as director of the Reuter Press Agency and...
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