William Sharp

(Fiona Macleod)

1855 - 1905

Novelist, poet and biographer. Born in Paisley (Renfrewshire), the son of a successful textile designer and merchant, Sharp was educated at Glasgow Academy and the University of Glasgow. An enthusiastic traveller, Sharp spent time in Australia before establishing a base in London in 1879. Under his own name he wrote biographies of contemporary English, French and German poets; poems, including the collection Earth's Voices (1884); and novels, notably Silence Farm (1899). Using the secretive pseudonym Fiona Macleod, Sharp wrote the novels and poems for which he is chiefly remembered; including Pharais (1894), The Mountain Lovers (1895), The Sin-Eater (1895) and The Washer of the Ford (1896), together with the plays The Immortal Hour (1900) and The House of Usna (1903). These romantic works were set in Scotland. Sharp refused to disclose the secret of his dual identity, to the extent that he employed his sister, who lived in Edinburgh, to provide the female hand-writing of Fiona's letters.

He died at Castello di Maniace, Sicily, and is buried there. His identity as Fiona Macleod was only acknowledged by his wife after his death.

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