John Buchan was born in Perth and went to the University of Glasgow before coming to Oxford. When he arrived here in 1895 at the age of twenty he was already a published author and he continued to write throughout his undergraduate career. He won both College and University essay prizes and the University's prestigious Newdigate poetry prize. He was also President of the Oxford Union. In spite of all this extra-curricular activity he achieved a First in 1899.
He pursued widely diverse activities during his lifetime, not only as a writer but in business, journalism and administration. He was M.P. for the Scottish Universities, Lord High Commissioner of the Kirk, and in 1935 he was appointed Governor General of Canada and raised to the peerage as Baron Tweedsmuir of Elsfield.
He is remembered for his fiction, most chiefly for The Thirty-nine Steps, but his other publications included a History of the Great War and a history of his own College.