Morag Ann MacNeil
I was brought up in the small crofting township of Horgabost on the Hebridean island of Harris, where Gaelic was the everyday language and where storytelling, poetry and song were an integral part of my family life. I studied English Literature and Celtic Studies at the University of Glasgow, and then went to Jordanhill College of Education, graduating in 1990 with teaching qualifications in English and Gaelic. I was a Gaelic teacher for 26 years before becoming a full-time writer, and I received a New Writers Award from the Scottish Book Trust and the Gaelic Books Council in 2015. I now live beside the famous cockle strand beach on the Isle of Barra with my husband, Iain, and our little black cat, Pepe.
About writer's work
Having spent my working life teaching children, I realised that there was a lack of children’s books in Gaelic that were not aimed at the very young or that were not translations—and whilst translated books remain a valuable asset, I feel that they do not always reflect the cultural heritage and humour of the Gael. My children’s novels, Granaidh Afraga and Èiginn Ùisdein were shortlisted for the Donald Meek Award in 2016 and 2017 respectively, Èiginn Ùisdein winning third prize in that year. I have also written educational material for schools and universities, and have been involved in translating television scripts into Gaelic.
Although my main interest continues to be children’s fiction, I have also written short stories, drama scripts and poetry. I was awarded the Ailsa Quaich and the Lewis and Harris Gold Medal for poetry at the Royal National Mòd in 2017 and I won the FilmG award for Best Script in 2018. I was commissioned to write a collection of short stories by Acair Ltd, and An t-Hiortach Beag agus Sgeulachdan Eile is now pending publication. My themes include magic, mystery, the supernatural and crime - all delivered with a good dash of humour!
Websites featuring the authorTwitter'How I Write: Scottish Book Trust blogYouTubeAcair BooksGaelic Books Council
Current events and projects
I have delivered workshops in schools and venues throughout the Western Isles and in Glasgow for the Hebridean Book Festival’s Faclan Òga 2017 programme and for Aye Write’s Wee Write initiative. These workshops were based on my novel, Granaidh Afraga, and I am currently booked to return for Faclan Òga 2018 to deliver workshops based on my latest novel, Seòras Ruadh agus Barabal. I am happy to deliver interactive creative writing workshops based on my books. My writing and workshops cover a range of ages and are suitable for both primary and secondary school levels. I have experience of teaching in both of these sectors and I remain GTC registered. In addition, I have a current Disclosure Scotland certificate, enabling me to work in all Scottish schools.
Gabh do Leòr Dheth (Short Story, Steall 02magazine, CLÀR, 2017)
Lasair Litreachais (Poetry, Gaelic Books Council, 2017)
Goodnight Like This/Oidhche Mhath Mar Seo – Mary Murphy, 2016
Is that an Elephant in my Fridge?/An e Ailbhean tha Siud na mo Frids? – Caroline Crowe, 2017
A Tale of Two Beasts/Sgeulachd an Dà Bhèist – Fiona Roberton, 2018 (publication pending)
Luna Loves Library Day/Lùna agus Latha an Leabharlainn – Joseph Coelho & Fiona Lumbers, 2018 (publication pending)