This page is deceased! Please visit my new, much better website instead: http://www.kevinmacneil.me
HLY FCK ‘Bring the Moon Home’ (featuring Kevin MacNeil). On Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes, TikTok, Amazon, Pandora, Deezer, Tidal, Napster, iHeartRadio, Instagram/Facebook and a bunch of other sites. 2,400 plays in its first day of existence. Excited about this one. Enjoy.
Available for the first time, in a very limited edition, is the Akutagawa ‘Live in Stornoway’ album on (yellow) cassette. Akutagawa is Willie Campbell, Colin Macleod, Jane Hepburn Macmillan and Kevin MacNeil. This is a live recording of the gig they did to round off the Faclan festival at An Lanntair. Some of these songs also featured in the Stornoway Way play. Track listing:
SIDE ONE – Red Clocks/Uaireadairean Dearga, Local Man Ruins Everything, Words, Seahorses/Faclan, Eich-Mhara, Natural, Miraculous/Nadurrach, Miorbhaileach
SIDE TWO – Akutagawa, Memory/Cuimhne, Every Month, Kingdom
A small number of these are for sale at £10 plus £3 p&p (overseas extra) – email email@example.com to secure your copy, but be quick.
My latest contribution to alleviating that locked-down feeling is a poem (and accompanying video) that features on Hugh McMillan’s Pestilence Poems website. As reported by the BBC, Hugh has used this time of isolation to bring poets, readers, and, in this case greyhounds, together.
More Transparent Than Rain
More transparent than rain
Or at least so grey as to be invisible
In the interminable grey rain,
Accepting breathlessness and heartache,
Asthmatic eyes and blind lungs,
Too despondent to have the energy for anger
His belly half-full with gruel-grey porridge, rotten
Vegetables, and bruised burst fruits
He understands himself to be, from childhood, inferior.
He does not expect automatic doors or
Motion-sensitive lights to register his presence,
No worthwhile photograph of him exists.
He limps through damp draughty rooms which only
Spiders, moths and mould would call home, in a city
He has never recognised nor understood.
Whenever he meets someone he pictures the when
The how the aftermath of their death;
He has forgotten what it is to be spontaneous,
To be gigglingly happy or to live, but momentarily, free.
He is ceding the fight to be who he was meant to be.
His worst has bested him. Gossip misunderstood him wilfully;
No one sings his praises or witnesses the unearthly
Goodnesses he – simple, regular ex-star matter – achieves.
A poem where the poet is a compassionate deed,
A poem that’s epic, invisible, heroic – a sutra
Infused with the fallible Bodhisattva ideal – that is the kind
Of poet I would like to be, a reincarnation, perhaps
Not of Burns or Donnchadh Bàn but sincere, altruistic Miyazawa Kenji.
Kamakura Museum of Literature archives–
Context: Poet Sorley Maclean referred to the ‘great dead bird of Scotland’, but to me Scotland looks like a Zen garden. My native Hebridean islands are depicted with the kanji for ‘Zen garden’. Please also check out the other poets in the magazine.
EDIT: If you are having issues with the link, please copy and paste (rather than click on) this URL: https://soundcloud.com/loveandzen/mariana-enriquez-argentina-interviewed-by-kevin-macneil-scotland-in-buenos-aires
Continuing my mission to alleviate the lockdown with literary treats, here is a discussion with one of the foremost writers in South America – an audio interview I did with the renowned writer Mariana Enriquez in May 2017 in La Biela, Buenos Aires, Argentina on 18th May, 2017. I have never before published it, but do so now with Mariana’s permission. I am finding a new appreciation for real-life, real-time recordings – which this interview is. Both our voices are clear, and in the background you can hear the hustle and bustle of the famous cafe (which Borges and Bioy used to frequent). Mariana speaks with great intelligence and eloquence about lots of elements of her own work and Argentina’s literature (including, eg horror and reality, the body as a trope, politics, literary tradition and the contemporary, the gothic, Borges, Ocampo, publishing in Argentina and beyond, how she started as a writer etc, etc). I really value it and I hope Mariana’s fans, general readers and scholars will, too. Here’s that link to the interview again.
Not the greatest photograph, even taking into account two of the authors are deceased!
L-R: Jorge Luis Borges, Kevin MacNeil, Adolfo Bioy Casares and interviewee Mariana Enriquez, May 2017, La Biela, Buenos Aires.
I have a number of Japan-inspired Gaelic poems in the shiny new edition of Northwords Now magazine. These appear under my Gaelic name, Caoimhin MacNèill.
The first one has an English translation. It is called ‘air plèana a tha mar chorrag a’ comharrachadh ris a’ ghealaich’/ ‘on a plane that is like a finger pointing to the moon’.
The second one is a kōan, and is called Kōan Kōfu. I wrote these poems in Kōfu and Tokyo in 2019.
The third one is a translation of a poem by Yamamoto Taro (1925-1988), and is called ‘taighean-solais’/’lighthouses’.
Hello, everyone. I hope you are bearing up well during The Strangeness. I am going to try and contribute an occasional piece of work to help folks through the slight apocalypse. To that end, the Island Review has posted a video-poem featuring the lovely Molly. I have some projects going on in the background, including a new manuscript. This is a previously unpublished poem. I hope you enjoy it. Click here for the video-poem.
Thank you to everyone who came to see my play The Stornoway Way. I adapted the play from the novel of the same name (Penguin Books), and Dogstar Theatre toured it very successfully around the country. Audience figures were gratifyingly high, with many of the shows sold out, and audience feedback is available to read beneath the images. Thank you to everyone involved.
PS It has been a few years since I updated this website (apologies). I have written or edited a book or two since then, plus I moved back to my native Scotland. I am now a Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Stirling and I live with my rescue greyhound, Molly. I do have a few exciting writing projects on the go….
Photography credit: Leila Angus
I truly didn’t think the play would be anywhere as good as the book. I was wrong. Absolutely amazing night, we laughed, we cried, we loved it. Huge shout out to the three actresses from @dogstartheatre
Enjoyed the performance at Sabhal Mor Ostaig so much we journeyed to Inverness, two nights later to experience it all again.
Fabulous performances by three incredibly talented young actors
Emotional and humorous
Beautifully balanced production
Congratulations to All involved
I saw the play in Stornoway, loved it. Told the story well, made you think, made you feel blessed, made you think about life, love, family, friends, and a whole batch of other things. Oh, and the musical score is fantastic!!!
I’ve just seen The Stornoway Way in Stirling. Big thanks and love to Kevin, the actors and all involved for taking me so heartfully through the hurt and the hope of the world. Beautiful, sad, funny, and great songs!
it was ace. Thoroughly recommend it to anyone. Thought provoking, poignant, funny, sad, and a great conversation starter!!
Tonight we went to see The Stornoway Way at An Lanntair in Stornoway. I loved it and I laughed and I cried. Kevin cove, that was amazing.
Great play last night. Shed a tear – the girls were all superb.
Congratulations! It is a really moving, thought-provoking and funny play! Well done! Still has me thinking – and wanting to learn Gaelic. My dad was an alcoholic so it felt even more significant to me.
Just seen the play – it was amazing. Lived up to my expectations and more.
Stunning, moving performance, Kevin. Congratulations to you and the cast x
Every minute of this incredible haunting play , is filled with some of the most fluid , sincerely and haunting performances.
This being one of my favourite books , I’m so lucky to have the privilege of watching this play .
It is so true to it’s roots , it enhances the core of the message .
I was hypnotised by the utter beauty of the contemporary set , and with the background and lighting , I felt there was a feeling of comforting twilight light thoughout it was gobsmaking .
From the powerfully emotional performances, to everyone’s flawless transition on stage, moved and managed by the incredible actors rendered us speak-less .
Every one or the actor’s sang beautifuly and played flawlessly. It was so subtlely done , from the heartwarming love sene to the tears in my eyes when the shoes came off at the end .
We didn’t want your play to end , thank you for bringing a different dimension to out beloved book . Funny inspiring a joy to watch . Thank you
Loved this from start to finish, combination of theatre & music was brilliant!
This is the best book I’ve ever read!! Ever! Go see if your in the area!!
Really enjoyed this show! Well done girls, brilliant performances, lovely writing and direction. Catch it on tour now..
Brilliant, brilliant night @EdenCourt Thank you
Thoroughly enjoyed @Kevin_MacNeil and @dogstartheatre’s The Stornoway Way in Kirkcaldy last night. Dark, funny, clever production, outstanding performances. Go see!
Best reason I’ve ever heard for going to Livingston. A really great play.
A most excellent night at the theatre last night to see @Kevin_MacNeil’s adaptation of The Stornoway Way. Gave me all the feels I remember from reading the novel. Catch it if you can!
I was so blown away by it, I just have to sit for a while. It’s hilarious, searing and achingly beautiful all at once.
Wonderful performance of The Stornoway Way @Cottiers_Venue tonight…Funny, poignant, powerful, thought provoking
Brilliant evening watching this poignant, subtle and funny account of a Scottish islander’s descent into the madness of alcoholism. The play charts the man’s collapse into ever-growing darkness, handling this toughest and darkest of subjects with humour, grace and a wryly believable humanity.
Just saw The Stornoway Way by Dogstar Theatre. Loved it. Fully embraces the nature of theatre to make something that is both faithful to the book and also entirely its own thing. Beautiful.
Great performance of The Stornoway Way at Eden Court tonight. Congratulations to cast and crew!
Love, whisky, self-destruction, jokes, songs, ace cast,
I was lucky enough to attend 2 recent performances of The Stornoway Way , firstly, last Thursday at Cottiers in Glasgow with my wife Linda and friends Dave and Jean, and then again last night with one of my sons (sadly son no.2 up to his neck in the delights of chemical engineering) at the Howden Park Centre in Livingston.Having been privileged to have lived the life in conjunction with the first job of my career in Stornoway between 1984 and 1986, Kevin MacNeil’s 2005 novel had always resonated strongly with me. I loved my 2 years amidst the beauty of the islands and the warmth, ingenuity, creativity and culture of the people.The play has added another dimension to the book and it is even more powerful particularly given the wonderful acting of Naomi Stirrat, Chloe-Ann Tylor and Rachel Kennedy and the brilliant contemporary and Gaelic songs interspersed throughout the play. Special credit to Naomi, Chloe-Ann and Rachel for giving the same high level of passion and performance to a packed Cottiers and a not-so packed Howden Park Centre(both great venues). Hope you play to packed houses for the rest of the tour – you all deserve nothing less. An absolute gem.So that’s the book and the play. Roll on the film!!!! Trainspotting for the Hebrides? Definitely.
Saw this at Reay. Very, very dynamic performances. Fab staging.
Just seen The Stornoway Way this evening in the Beacon Arts Centre. An absolutely outstanding evenings theatre.
I saw it at Lathron and thought it was great.
Congratulations on your beautiful play, Kevin – I plan to read more of your work and introduce it to my senior pupils! Enjoy every minute of the rest of the run.
Exceptional theatre …. saw it in @EdenCourt at the weekend and thought the acting and stamina, the writing and music all were outstanding – well done folks
Really enjoyed this show! Well done girls, brilliant performances, lovely writing and direction.
Absolutely amazing. Beautiful, funny & sad. Terrific theatre.