The 2011 Donald Meek Award has been awarded to Margaret Callan for Air Bilean an t-Sluaigh, a study of the continuation of the oral tradition in North Uist, at a special ceremony at the Edinburgh International Book Festival on Thursday 18th August.
Donald Meek was at one time the Chair of the Gaelic Books Council and has spent his professional life raising the profile of Gaelic literature. The Donald Meek Award was established in 2010 in order to encourage and help both new and established Gaelic writers. The award was presented to Dr Finlay MacLeod in 2010 for Gormshuil an Rìgh, his first novel for adults.
The three other candidates on the short-list for the award were:
John Alick MacPherson for his autobiography Steall à Iomadh Lòn, to be published by Clàr in 2011.
Rody Gorman for his poetry collection Beartan Briste agus Dàin Gàidhlig Eile / Burstbrokenjudgementshroudloomdeeds and Other Gaelic Poems, published by Cape Breton University Press in August 2011.
Andrew Dunn for his first novel, Còisir nan Gunna, which is yet to be published.
Air Bilean an t-Sluaigh will be published in 2011 by Queen’s University Press, Belfast.
Donald Meek said: “I was delighted with the judges’ choice - they were absolutely right. Margaret Callan produced an outstanding and creative piece of work in explaining the lore and tradition of North Uist through the medium of Gaelic.
All the books (on the short-list) were excellent – all very different, and all superb.”
Donald Iain Brown, Chair of the Gaelic Books Council described the books on the shortlist as an ‘award’ for Gaelic.