Aonghas Macneacail

  • Isle of Skye


Aonghas Macneacail was born in 1942 on the Isle of Skye, and attended Glasgow University from 1968-1971.

He has published several collections of poems, mostly in Gaelic with parallel English translations, including An Seachnadh/The Avoiding (1986) and Oideachadh Ceart/A Proper Schooling (1996), the latter winning the 1997 Stakis Prize for Scottish Writer of the Year. A collection of poems in English, Rock and Water, appeared in 1990. His latest book is a collection of Gaelic poems, Laoidh an Donais Oig/Hymn to a Young Demon (2007).

Over a period of 30 years, he has held creative writing fellowships with various community and educational bodies, including the Gaelic College in Skye, Brownsbank (Hugh MacDiarmid's last home), Glasgow and Strathclyde Universities, and, most recently, in eight Dumfries and Galloway schools. The latter has resulted in a substantial anthology of pupils' writing.

His work has been widely translated and has appeared in many magazines and anthologies both in the UK and abroad. He has written plays and scripts for television and radio. In 1993 he wrote a four-part documentary series on Gaelic culture for Scottish Television and Driven West, a five-part drama for BBC Radio Scotland, and has recently worked, as a co-writer, on the feature film Seachd - The Inaccessible Pinnacle. He has also collaborated with various musicians, writing libretti and songs, and has toured all over the world to give recitals and lectures.

In November 2012 MacNeacail’s collection of poetry – Deanamh Gaire ris a’Chloc – joined Carol Ann Duffy’s The Bees; Sighlines by Kathleen Jamie; James Kelman’s Mo Said She was Quirky; Tales From the Mall by Ewan Morrison; Alan Warner’s The Dead Man’s Pedal, and Skagboys by Irvine Welsh on the shortlist for Scottish Book of the Year in the prestigious Saltire Literary Awards.


Laoidh an Donais Oig/Hymn to a Young Demon
Oideachadh Ceart/A Proper Schooling
Scotland: A Linguistic Double Helix
Sgathach, the Warrior Queen
A Writers' Ceilidh
Rock and Water
An Seachnadh/The Avoiding
An Cathadh Mor/The Great Snowbattle
Sireadh Bradain Sicir/Seeking Wise Salmon
Imaginary Wounds
Poetry Quintet


Scottish Book of the Year - shortlist
Bardic Crown, Ntaional Mod
Feile Filiochta, Dun Laoghaire
Paul Hamlyn Award for Poetry
Stakis Prize for Scottish Writer of the Year
Scottish Arts Council Writer's Bursary
Scottish Arts Council Writer's Bursary