Scottish writer. He published his first novel, The Passionate Elopement, in 1911. Subsequent novels included Carnival (1912), a melodrama of stage life, the semi-autobiographical Sinister Street (1913–14), the sequence The Four Winds of Love (1937–45), and the comedy Whisky Galore! (1947; filmed in 1949).
During World War I he saw action and served in the secret service; his Greek Memories (1932) was withdrawn after his trial under the Official Secrets Act. He published his autobiography, My Life and Times, in ten volumes from 1963–71.
Mackenzie was born in West Hartlepool, northeast England, but regarded himself as a Scottish nationalist and wrote in the Scottish tradition. He studied at Oxford and went on to train as a lawyer, but gave this up to devote himself to writing. His play The Gentleman in Grey was produced in Edinburgh in 1907, but his career was decided by the outstanding success of his first three novels. Subsequent works include The Altar Steps (1922) and a carefully wrought love story of the English country before the war, Guy and Pauline (1915).
During the war he served with the Royal Marines at Gallipoli and was invalided out to Capri for a year. During the latter years of the war he was military control officer in Athens, and in 1917 director of the Aegean Intelligence Service. His experiences at that time became the subject of three books: Gallipoli Memories (1929), Athenian Memories (1931), and Aegean Memories (1940).
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