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Ian Niall: Part of his Life

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.’

Douglas Gifford

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.

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