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A Celebration of Derick Thomson

A Celebration of Derick Thomson

Posted on 21 October 2021 in Latest News

The Scottish Poetry Library and Comhairle nan Leabhraichean (the Gaelic Books Council) are celebrating a hundred years since the birth of poet and publisher Derick Thomson with a film in which three renowned scholars discuss his work and legacy.

Thomson was the first Chair of the Gaelic Books Council (then known as an Comann Leabhraichean) when it was founded in 1968. He was also an Honorary President of the Scottish Poetry Library. Through his teaching at Glasgow University, his research on Gaelic poetry and literature, the books and magazines he published through his company Gairm, and his own poetry, he did more than any other person in the latter half of the twentieth century to advance the cause of Gaelic writing and publishing.

In the new film, Dr Anna Frater, Professor Meg Bateman and Dr Petra Poncarová discuss the subjects to which Thomson returned time and again – religion, politics and above all the culture of Lewis and the people he knew there in his youth – and they examine the legacy he left to the generation of poets that followed him. Anna Frater, a student of Thomson’s, recalls how she got her first pieces of poetry published in the periodical Gairm thanks to him. They also highlight the humour that is evident in his poetry, and recite a selection of their favourite poems, chosen from the hundreds of pieces he wrote over more than seventy years.

The conversation is in Gaelic, with subtitles in English. The Gaelic Books Council and the Scottish Poetry Library will also be holding other events to mark Derick Thomson’s centenary before the end of 2021.

The Gaelic Books Council is a registered charity (SC025026) and receives financial support from Creative Scotland and Bòrd na Gàidhlig.

Read Derick Thomson’s poetry:

Creachadh na Clàrsaich – Plundering the Harp

Smeur an Dòchais / Bramble of Hope

Meall Garbh – The Rugged Mountain

Sùil air Fàire | Surveying the Horizon

 

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Wigtown Scottish Gaelic Prize Winners

Wigtown Scottish Gaelic Prize Winners

Posted on 4 October 2021 in Latest News

We were happy to support the Wigtown Scottish Gaelic Prize again this year. The submissions were judged by Sandy MacDonald Jones who presented Eoghan Stewart with First Prize and Gillebrìde MacMillan with the Runner-up Prize at an award ceremony on Saturday 2 October in Wigtown. Here are the excellent winning poems:

Wigtown Scottish Gaelic Prize Winner | Eoghan Stewart, Dante air an C1144 agus U1207

a’ cur mo chùl air gach dòchas
’s ga fhàgail a’ grodadh san luachair
’s ann tro fhearann donn ’s odhar
fo bhrùid am foghar buan a ghluais mi

seachad air a liuthad gheataichean iarainn
chaidh mi gu siar, gu siar, gu ceann na h-ifrinne
ach gun bhàrd nam iùil tron talamh iargailt seo
a chainnt ga smaladh le rhodendrons sna dìgean

mar chnap de chabair as dèidh na seilge
càrn de gheugan ghlainne dealain
’s ri taobh na slighe a’ fèitheamh breitheanas
na deamhannan maola a’ dearcadh orm

suas, suas na cuibhlichean a’ dìreadh
gu balla a’ chuaich làn ùisge marbh
na carbadan le sùilean òra a’ prìobadh
ceud fear sna bacan fàs a’ cladhach

meur fuadan a’ chuaich, àite na caim bàine
chaidh mi tarsainn air an drochaid airgid
far an robh eilean na cloinne ga bhàthadh
’s tom allt nighean eòbhain ga chur fodha

an tig sian beò fo eas choire nan cnàmh?
far nach eil ach dìle is earchall?
far nach dèanar faire ach àlan
aig bun allt sgùrr a’ chlaidheimh?

nuair a làigh mo shùil air an iuthairn
chunnaic mi taighean, laimrig is staran
’s mi bàthte, baiste, fo innis na creige gun liut
aig coire shùbh air leac san abhainn

an t-allt sruthach, siùbhlach, sùbhach, bàn
an caochan coirbte, ciar, caorach tron bheàrn
an steall beucach, nuallach, dearcach, àrd
’s an rathad na aradh cam, gu loch beag a’ teàrnadh

ceann loch shùbhairne fada dubh dòmhainn
an aile mar thonn-mara, na ceapan sleamhainn
air slighe a’ chladaich gu sgiath àirigh
’s mi a’ siubhal fàsach fliuch nan gailleann

’s tro na sgàilean uisge o neàmh ag iomain
bha mo rùn ’s mo thoil a’ tionndadh mar chuibhle
aig an aon astar leis a’ ghràdh a thionndas
a’ ghrian ’s na reultan ’s mo chridhe ’s mo chuimhne

Wigtown Scottish Gaelic Prize Runner-up | Gillebride MacMillan, Glanadh

Ghlan mi sibh aig uair sa mhadainn
an oidhch’ ud:
Làmhan ri phasgadh
Sùilean a dhùnadh
Casan a chur dìreach
Ceann a chur air cluasaig
An dèidh dhuibh sìoladh sìos,
Anail a’ crìonadh: sgìths a’ dol gu sìth.

Ghlan mi sibh aig uair sa mhadainn
An oidhch’ ud:
Beul ri dhùnadh
Gruag ri chìreadh
Ceann a chur dìreach
Deiseil airson ur turais a-nis.
Dìreach mar dh’iarradh sibh.

Washing

I washed you that night
at 1am:
hands folded
eyes closed
legs straightened
head placed on pillow,
After you slowed to a whisper
Breath shortening; tiredness turns to peace.

I washed you that night
at 1am:
mouth closed
hair combed
head upright.
Ready for your journey now,
Just as you would have wanted.

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The Gaelic Literature Awards 2021: The Winners

The Gaelic Literature Awards 2021: The Winners

Posted on 22 September 2021 in Latest News

The Gaelic Literature Awards 2021 were held with a digital event, live streamed on YouTube on 16th September 2021. Catch-up on the event here.

Best Book for Children/Young People
Òran mo Sheanar, Catriona Lexy Campbell (Acair)

The Derick Thomson Prize for Best Poetry Book (sponsored by The Scottish Poetry Library)
100 Dàn as Fheàrr Leinn / 100 Favourite Gaelic Poems, ed. Peter Mackay & Jo MacDonald (Luath Press)

The Highland Society of London Prize for Best Fiction Book
Fon Choill, Calum L. MacLeod (CLÀR)

The Donald Meek Award for Best Non-fiction Book
Dràma na Gàidhlig: Ceud Bliadhna air an Àrd-ùrlar / A Century of Gaelic Drama, ed. Michelle Macleod (Association for Scottish Literary Studies)

Highly commended
Eachdraidh le Càirdeas is Cridhe: Ainmean-àite Ceann a Tuath Leòdhais / History with Heart and Soul: The Place-names of North Lewis, Comunn Eachdraidh Nis & Dr Rachel Barrowman (Acair)

Best Unpublished Manuscript for Children/Young People (in association with Acair)
Curstag a’ Chearc Ruadh, Liam Alasdair Crouse

Best Unpublished Manuscript for Adults
A’ Ruith Eadar Dà Dhràgon, Martin MacIntyre