A Scottish poet, novelist, and short story writer who wrote in both English and Scottish Gaelic, he is best known for works such as Modern Gaelic Verse and Consider the Lilies. His later works include An Honourable Death and The Leaf and the Marble.
He received a degree in English from the University of Aberdeen. He published his first work, The Long River, in 1955.
He often wrote about elderly women dealing with feelings of alienation.
He and his siblings were raised in the Scottish Gaelic community of Bayble by their mother, a widow.
He and A.J. Cronin were both Scottish authors.