Published 9th February 2024. Available for pre-order.
Aonghas MacNeacail (1942-2022) was a major Scottish writer from Skye. He composed poetry, songs, journalism, scripts, librettos and translations. Among Gaelic-speakers he was known as Aonghas Dubh - Black Angus.
Among his many accolades, he won the 1997 Stakis prize for Scottish Writer of the Year, and also received the Saltire Society's Premiere Award for contribution to the arts in 2005. His New & Selected Poems, 'Laughing at the Clock / Deanamh Gaire Ris A' Chloc', was published by Polygon in 2012. Aonghas grew up in a croft in Uig, on Skye.
His first encounter with the English language was at school: while Aonghas spoke Gaelic at home, English was his language of education, and the first language that he wrote poetry in. While studying at Glasgow he became part of Philip Hobsbaum's famous Glasgow Group of creative writers, alongside Tom Leonard, Liz Lochhead, James Kelman and Alasdair Gray. He became involved with the Poetry Society while working as a housing officer in London: he later became the writer in residence at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, the Gaelic college on Skye, and this reinvigorated his desire to write in Gaelic also.
Latterly Aonghas became famous as a Gaelic-language writer, though in fact he composed work in all three native languages of Scotland. He was a founding member of the Scottish Poetry Library. 'beyond' is a posthumous collection of his English-language poems, edited by his widow, Gerda Stevenson with Colin Bramwell.