James Hogg (1770-1835) led a troubled life as a writer. Originally a shepherd, he taught himself to write and finally achieved recognition for his epic poem on Mary, Queen of Scots, The Queen’s Wake, and was invited to write for the best-selling journal Blackwood’s Magazine. However, Hogg soon became a figure of fun and ridicule in the magazine’s satirical ‘Noctes Ambrosianae’, in which the crude and absurd ‘Ettrick Shepherd’ was openly modelled on him. It is debated whether this was a source of pain and humiliation to the increasingly ostracised Hogg. His masterpiece, The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner, only achieved recognition some 100 years after publication, but is now one of the most important novels in the Scottish canon.