On March 20th, 1907, Hugh MacLennan was born in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia. Hugh was an only child and his loving parents, Dr. Samuel MacLennan and Katherine MacQuarrie, pushed Hugh very hard during the young ages of his life to do well in school. His parents urged him to specially pursue classical studies and athletic success or to express his artistic self. Because of this, he has become one the Canada's most recognized and respected authors.
Hugh MacLennan was an excellent tennis player during his youth. At the age of 12, Hugh MacLennan was forced by his father to learn the sport, and he ended up joining the Waegwoltic Tennis Club. Because of his hard work, persistence and dedication, he soon became one of the very best tennis players. In 1928, he won the Doubles Men's Tennis championship for Halifax and Nova Scotia; in 1929 he won the singles Maritimes championship; and in 1930 he won the tennis singles Oxford University championship. Hugh also loved to read in high school. One of his favourite books that he read during his teen years was the Classical Dictionary by Sir William Smith. Hugh MacLennan was pushed very hard throughout his life by his parents to do the best that he could in whatever he did. .
When Hugh MacLennan graduated from high school, he began to study Greek and Latin at Dalhousie University from 1924 to 1928 where he received his B.A. Honours. In 1928, MacLennan received a Rhodes scholarship and left for Liverpool with his sister to Oxford, where he enters Oriel College. In 1932, he graduated with another B.A. from Oxford University and he continued to pursue a Ph.D. in Classics at the University of Princeton. In the same year, he was awarded the John Harding Page Fellowship (which was established in 1900 by Ms. James Laughlin in honour of her father's love for the classics). .
In 1934, Hugh MacLennan composed his first novel, So All Their Praises which was accepted by a publisher, but before his book was published, the company became bankrupt and his novel was never published.