Launch of 40th anniversary year for Gaelic publisher Acair

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Acair, the Stornoway based publisher celebrated the start of its 40th anniversary year this week.

The company was formed in December 1977, with its first premises in the old morgue in Perceval Square in Stornoway.

Now installed in An Tosgan on Seaforth Road the publisher held a launch event on Tuesday celebrating its history and detailing a programme of events over the next 12 months leading to its official birthday in December.

Over its 40 years, Acair has published a total of 915 titles, 215 of which are currently in print. They stil publish Gaelic children’s books - including their range of translations of popular children’s books in English - but also Gaelic novels and non-fiction for adults, as well as English or bilingual books with a social, historical or cultural relevance to the Highlands and Islands. Lately they have also published a new range of Gaelic poetry books.

Talking about the landmark anniversary, Marion Sinclair, chief executive of Publishing Scotland, said: It’s difficult to overstate the impact of Acair. They’ve really been the face of Gaelic publishing for such a long time and I would say their development of children’s publishing has been particularly important.

“They recognised that language development had to start with literacy for the young. I would just like to say ‘more power to them for the next 40 years’.

“They have been absolutely crucial to the development of Gaelic literacy over the last 40 years and also to the normalisation of the language.”

Acair chairman Donald Martin, added: “As we embark on Acair’s 40th anniversary, I would like to pay tribute to those visionaries whose commitment to the Gaelic language and culture resulted in the establishment of Acair as the first bilingual publishing company dedicated to the production of Gaelic books and material for the Bilingual Education Project. Sadly, many of those pioneers are no longer with us but their legacy endures to this day and we owe them a huge debt of gratitude.

“Over the past 40 years we have seen many changes in the the development of the Gaelic. The role and focus of Acair has had to adapt to meet these changes. With our small but highliy skilled and dedicated staff we look forward to playing an important role in Gaelic publishing for many years to come.”