James Matthew Barrie

An Angus man, born in Kirriemuir, JM Barrie, as he was usually known, went to Edinburgh University, graduating in 1882. A period of journalism, in Nottingham and London, saw him finally settling down to write in London from 1885 on. His first novel, perhaps appropriately titled Better Dead, was self-published and had limited success. From then on things improved, except his marriage, in 1894, to Mary Ansell, a young actress. They eventually divorced in 1909, but it had left him with bitter feelings.

He did very well as a playwright, writing for the American and British markets. One of his most successful plays was a stage production of The Little Minister, adapted from a novel of the same name written in 1891. This was the story of a Presbyterian minister and his love for a gypsy girl.

But, tick-tock, tick-tock, here comes the alligator. In 1896 Barrie had met the Llewelyn Davies family, and subsequently wrote a story for the children, based on pirates, fairies, and a little boy who would never grow up called Peter Pan. Peter Pan, or The Boy who Never Grew Up (1904) is a story which has remained popular ever since.

He died on 19 June, 1937, and was buried in Kirriemuir, next to his mother.