James W. Irvine
James W. Irvine (b. 1917, Exnaboe) is an author and former headmaster. He grew up in Virkie. He was educated at Virkie Public School, Anderson Educational Institute and Edinburgh University, from where he graduated in 1939. After six years of army service he held the position of Further Education Officer for Shetland for a time, before reverting to teaching. He became Headmaster of Lerwick Primary School in 1966, a position he held until his retirement in 1977. He was made a Fellow of the Educational Institute of Scotland in 1973, and awarded the MBE in 1974.
In his retirement he has become one of the islands most prolific writers.
In mid-October 2008 it was announced that he was to be presented with the Norwegian Saint Olav's Medal, in recognition of his writing achievements, in particular those of his books which have explored the Norway-Shetland relationship of WWII. The equivalent of an MBE, it is awarded for "outstanding services rendered in connection with the spreading of information about Norway abroad and for strengthening the bonds between expatriate Norwegians and their home country"
The presentation usually only takes place in Norway, but in view of Mr Irvine's age, special arrangements were put in place to hold the presentation in the Lerwick Town Hall. Mr. Irvine was presented the medal by honorary Norwegian consul John Smith at a ceremony on November 3rd 2008.
Books by James W. Irvine
- 1980 Footprints: Aspects of Shetland Life over the Last 100 Years
- 1982 Up-Helly-Aa
- 1985 Lerwick: Birth and Growth of an Island Town
- 1987 Dunrossness Story
- 1988 The Waves are Free
- 1991 The Giving Years
- 1993 Men Bølgene er jo Fri (Norwegian translation of The Waves Are Free.)
- 1994 The Years Between
- 1995 Through Storm to Calm
- 1996 An Island Miscellany
- 1997 The Bold and the Free
- 1998 A Lass from the Lanes
- 1999 Lay Hold on Life
- 2000 Along the Road
- 2001 Unsung Heroes
- 2002 Good Old Days
- 2003 To Be A Soldier
- 2004 Final Curtain (Sequel to The Waves are Free)
- 2005 Memories are Made of This - An Autobiography
- 2006 Costly Cargoes
- 2007 Meandering