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.