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TLS Review, 19th November 2004

John McNeillie My Childhood pp148. Thame: Clutag. £20. 0954727509 John McNeillie is better known as Ian Niall, under which pen name he became a major figure in British nature writing of the twentieth century. A Scotsman who ended up living in North Wales, McNeillie wrote more than forty books, mostly on rural themes. He was, notes his son (the poet Andrew McNeillie) in the introduction to My Childhood, “a kind of lyric poet in prose, and an elegist who had known Eden”. That Eden was North Clutag Farm, a remote steading in Wigtownshire in the Scottish borders, where McNeillie grew up under the care of his grandparents in the late 1910s and 20s. It is these years that are the…

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