The Gaelic Books Council welcomes its new Chair

Posted on 5 November 2021 in Latest News

Ishbel Murray is to be the new Chair of the Gaelic Books Council. Ishbel is well known as a teacher and as a visual artist. She was Chair of Ceòl is Craic from 2012 to 2016 and was closely involved in founding the organisation, which brings together musicians, artists, actors and writers for events at the CCA in Glasgow.

Catrìona Murray, who has served as the Gaelic Books Council’s Chair for four years, welcomed Ishbel to her new role, saying:

“It has been a great pleasure and an honour to be Chair of the Gaelic Books Council. The past four years have not been without their challenges, particularly with the impact of Covid-19 on the publishing industry, but the Gaelic Books Council is reaching the end of 2021 as an established charity with a creative team and a judicious board of trustees. I offer my sincere thanks to the diligent staff under the direction of Alison Lang, and of Rosemary Ward before her, and also to members of the board for their loyalty and support over the past four years. I am so happy that Ishbel, who is a great ambassador for Gaelic, has accepted the position of Chair. I know that she will approach the role with enthusiasm and confidence. I wish every success to Ishbel and to the Gaelic Books Council.”

Alison Lang, Director of the Gaelic Books Council, said:

“On behalf of the staff and board of the Gaelic Books Council, I would like to thank Catrìona Murray for her exceptional work as Chair since 2017, and particularly for steering us through the difficulties that Covid presented us with. We offer Ishbel a very warm welcome and we hope for great success for the writers and publishers we support in the years to come.”

Ishbel Murray comes to the Chair at a significant time for Gaelic and for the publishing industry. Times have been tough for some publishing companies because of Covid, but online book sales have sustained the Gaelic Books Council, and the organisation has brought in new ways of working, such as delivering online reading sessions for young children, which have proved very successful. Looking to the future, the outlook for Gaelic literature is positive, thanks to the increasing interest that is being shown in reading and learning the language.

Ishbel said:

“In my work teaching Gaelic learners, one of the things that makes me happiest is to see my students making progress in writing Gaelic. This encourages me particularly when I have a student with an interest in creative writing and a talent for it who reaches a stage where they are able to participate in the world of Gaelic literature and enjoy the richness of the language. As an artist who uses images to communicate, I envy the skill of our Gaelic writers who are able to express themselves in a way that profoundly affects their readers, and I look forward to being involved in the work that the Gaelic Books Council does to support them.”