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The Island in the Sound by Niall Campbell PRE-ORDER

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Published 19th September 2024. Available for pre-order.

The Island in the Sound, the third collection by South Uist poet Niall Campbell, creates an archipelago of memories, lyrics, observations and folktales that place the small islands of his birthplace into conversation with moments from literature and history.

The Sound of the title has a double meaning, both a thing that might be heard but also a body of water between islands or mainland, from the Norse word Sund. These poems rise up, then, as moments of clarity lifted out of all the noise and music and speech-patterns of our present world.

Here, mirroring the islands’ precarious future, we uncover strange links to Rome falling, Lindisfarne, and the temporary heaven found in Alamut, North Iran. The waters that churn around the islands in the poems bring strange things to their shores: saints, remnants of various types of havens, crab-boxes, and figures from the working-class lives of Uist.

It is a poetry collection attuned to the growing sense that something is changing around us and there never will be a going back. These islands in the sound are what’s left: shaped, crafted, riven by the strange tuneful sea they sprang from.

Niall Campbell’s first collection, Moontide (2014), won both the £20,000 Edwin Morgan Poetry Award and the Saltire First Book of the Year Award as well as being shortlisted for three other major prizes. His second collection, Noctuary (2019), was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Collection. Born and raised on South Uist in the Outer Hebrides, he now lives in Fife.

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