Andrew McNeillie’s new collection of poems In Mortal Memory is now available.
A launch event is being held at 6.30pm Blackwells Bookshop, Oxford, 25 February 2010.
If you happen to be in the area you are most welcome to join the gathering.
For more information, or to order copies, visit www.carcanet.co.uk
Clutag Press would like to extend to you the following invitation:
If you are unable to attend the event but would like more information or to order the book, you can do so on-line at www.seren-books.com
Announcing the forthcoming publication of Ian Niall: Part of his Life by Andrew McNeillie, available March 2007
‘…We owe Andrew McNeillie a great debt for reintroducing us to the most neglected of writers.’
Ian Niall was the pen name of John McNeillie (1916-2002). Between them they wrote more than forty books, over a period of as many years, from 1939 when at twenty-two John McNeillie published Wigtown Ploughman: Part of His Life, with Putnam of London and New York, a Scottish classic still in print, a book that raised a national controversy, leading to housing reform.
As Ian Niall, author of the novel No Resting Place (1948), filmed in Ireland by Paul Rotha, he would go on to establish himself as one of the finest rural writers and observers of the natural world of his time, beginning in 1950 with The Poacher’s Handbook and reaching another high point in 1967 with his memoir A Galloway Childhood. He would also return to forms of fiction, now masterfully grounded in the facts of actual lives. Throughout, for forty years, Ian Niall contributed the weekly ‘Countryman’s Notes’ to Country Life magazine, acquiring a devoted readership that spanned the world.
But little did the majority of his readers know about the man behind the name. For he kept much to himself, a man happiest in the wilderness, but with the greatest feeling for common humanity.
Iain Niall: Part of his Life - Andrew McNeillie
Announcing the publication of ARKWORK with ARTWORK by Andrew McNeillie and Julian Bell, published March 2006
24pp 170mm x 240mm ISBN 0-9547275-5-X
‘Arkwork’, a series of eleven sonnets by Andrew McNeillie, finds in the loss of the Stranraer-Larne ferry in January 1953, in which 133 passengers and crew drowned, a focus for a reflection on the literary history of shipwreck, death, and survival. The poems are superbly illustrated in dramatic drawings by the artist Julian Bell.
They went aboard in ones and twos,
in no great shape or order. The usual
kind of crowd and would be casual
but for those quayside feeling queasy blues.
They were thrown together… (Excuse me.)
But they’d need more than dry Ulster humour
to keep their spirits above water,
as they gasped and struggled in the sea.
Meanwhile, deep inland, the steading hove to.
As if a poem on the shipping forecast
was that moment conceiving. The radio
announced the disaster, in patrician English:
the old assault and innocence lost
that poetry is heir to, and the Irish.
Arkwork with Artwork - Andrew McNeillie and Julian Bell
Andrew McNeillie was born in North Wales in 1946 and educated at John Bright Grammar School, Llandudno, and Magdalen College, Oxford. He was Literature Editor at OUP for five years until May 2009 when Exeter Univeristy made him a Professor in their English Department, based at the university’s campus in Cornwall. This appointment centres round the magazine ARCHIPELAGO founded in 2007 and a new MA programme closely associated with it called ‘Nature, Writing and Place’.
He has two new books forthcoming: a memoir Once due from Seren in May 2009, and a book of poems In Mortal Memory due from Carcanet in February 2010.
His first collection of poems Nevermore (2000), in the Oxford Poets series from Carcanet, was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection. His prose memoir An Aran Keening tells of his stay on Inis Mór, just short of a year through 1968-69. It was published in 2001 by the Lilliput Press, Dublin, and in 2002 in the USA by the University of Wisconsin Press. Adam Nicolson, choosing his book of the year for 2002, in the Daily Telegraph wrote: ‘I enjoyed nothing more this year than An Aran Keening, Andrew McNeillie’s soft, sharp, funny and often heart-wrenchingly nostalgic account of the 11 months he spent on Inishmore, the biggest of the Aran Islands, in the late 1960s.’ Tim Robinson in the Irish Times wrote: ‘…McNeillie’s prose can be as pristine and effervescent as the sea’s edge on a summer beach….Aran is once again a larger place than it was.’ Subsequent collections of poems include: Now, Then (2002) and Slower (2006), both from Carcanet Press.
He is a son of the Scottish writer John McNeillie (also known as Ian Niall, 1916-2002); and father of ceramicist and painter Gail McNeillie.