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The Life and Times of Robbie Burns: Dr. Pauline Mackay and John Ivison

Book covers and headshots

Robbie Burns' poems remain popular today, 225 years after his death, largely due to the themes and language of everyday life in his work. His poems were humorous, focusing on small subjects to express big ideas. Robbie Burns remains Scotland's national bard to this day. Join us for a discussion about Burns’ worldwide legacy and his influence on Scottish culture and heritage. John Ivison, journalist, co-founder and first Executive Director of the Scottish Society of Ottawa and author of The Riotous Passions of Robbie Burns will join Dr. Pauline Mackay, Lecturer in Robert Burns Studies at the University of Glasgow and author of Burns for Every Day of the Year. They will discuss the “passionate” side of Burns, and his international influence on Scottish culture.

Burns for Every Day of the Year covers a wealth of subject matter and gives fresh insight into his views on politics, love and religion, as well as the inspiration [Robbie Burns] drew from nature and his interest in the supernatural.” – The Herald Scotland

Ivison’s fictional book The Riotous Passions of Robbie Burns sets us in Edinburgh at a time when “it was said if you stood at the Mercat Cross with a pistol, you could hit 50 geniuses, 50 bankers, 50 lawyers and 50 rogues at any given hour”.

This event is presented by the Scottish Society of Ottawa in partnership with the Ottawa International Writers Festival and the Ottawa Public Library.

The Scottish Society of Ottawa extends its appreciation to their BURNS225 - Rest in Poetry event series sponsor, the City of Ottawa


Dr. Pauline Mackay is Lecturer in Robert Burns Studies at the University of Glasgow's Centre for Robert Burns Studies, based in Scottish Literature. She is the author of a new book, Burns for Every Day of the Year. Dr. Mackay has published widely in Burns studies and has carried out research at major Burns collections in the UK and abroad. She has worked closely with Burns Scotland (the National Burns Collection), national and international media, and Scotland's Winter Festivals to further knowledge of Burns: his life, works and legacy.

John Ivison is a Scottish Canadian journalist and author. Ottawa-based political columnist for the National Post and Ottawa Bureau Chief, he was part of the newspaper’s founding team. Raised in Dumfries, Scotland, he joined the National Post in 1998 from The Scotsman in Edinburgh. He regularly appears as a panelist on Canadian public affairs programs, including the CBC News Network's Power & Politics and Cross-Country Check-Up, CPAC’s PrimeTime Politics, and CTV’s Power Play with Don Martin and Question Period. He is the author of Trudeau: The Education of a Prime Minister, and a fictional novel, The Riotous Passions of Robbie Burns.