Magnus Linklater

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Magnus Duncan Linklater, CBE (born 21 February 1942) is a British journalist, landowner and former newspaper editor.

Early life and education[edit]

Linklater was born in Orkney, and is the son of Scottish writer Eric Linklater. He was brought up in Easter Ross, attending the local school at Nigg before moving to Belhaven Hill School in Dunbar, East Lothian, and then on to Eton College. He continued his studies with courses at Albert Ludwigs University of Freiburg in Germany and the Sorbonne in Paris, before he studied for a degree at Trinity Hall, Cambridge. He is of part Swedish descent, through his father Eric.[1]


Linklater's journalistic career began in 1964, as a reporter with the Daily Express. This was followed by a position at the Evening Standard, before he moved to The Sunday Times in 1969, where he had a central role in the Hitler diaries scandal.[2] He remained at The Sunday Times until 1983. This was followed by three years at The Observer, before he was recruited to launch and edit the London Daily News, a short-lived newspaper owned by Robert Maxwell. Linklater returned to Scotland at the start of 1988 to become editor of The Scotsman, running the newspaper until 1994, when he left to become a freelance writer.

Following this, Linklater has regularly contributed to The Times, and, since 1998, has written a weekly column for The Scotsman's sister paper, Scotland on Sunday. Between 1994 and 1997 he presented the weekly discussion programme, Eye to Eye on BBC Radio Scotland, and has written a number of books, about Scottish history and politics.

Linklater's journalism was criticised in an article by George Monbiot for his failure to reveal an alleged conflict of interest in and article he wrote attacking the bird protection charity RSPB.[3] Monbiot alleged that Linklater had concealed the fact that he was the owner of a large Scottish shooting estate, and as such had a material interest in promoting the landowners' and gamekeepers' points of view - a fact he should have revealed to his readers. Monbiot also alleged an number of factual inaccuracies and misrepresentations of evidence.[4]

He was appointed as chairman of the Scottish Arts Council in 1996, holding the post for five years, and is currently chairman of the Little Sparta Trust, which maintains Little Sparta, the garden of the late Ian Hamilton Finlay, in the Pentland Hills.

Linklater was a candidate for the position of Rector of Aberdeen University in 1999 and Lord Rector of Edinburgh University in the 2006 election, but finished second, behind Green politician Mark Ballard.

Linklater lives in the New Town of Edinburgh, with his wife Veronica, a Liberal Democrat Life peer. Their house was badly damaged by a fire on New Year's Day 2006, destroying much of his art collection, including valuable paintings by Samuel Peploe and William George Gillies.

Linklater was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2013 New Year Honours for services to the arts and media in Scotland.[5]


External links[edit]

Media offices
Preceded by
Chris Baur
Editor of The Scotsman
Succeeded by
Andrew Jaspan