Culture/Arts in General

The Stornoway Way – now a play

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

Audience Feedback

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

Awesome performances tonight from @dogstartheatre in #TheStornawayWay Funny, poignant and thought provoking. Check out where they are next and get along!

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.

Lovely writing and performances from the cast @CottiersTheatre tonight #thestornowayway – funny, bleak and atmospheric. Like Scotland

I really enjoyed The Stornoway Way @Kevin_MacNeil – loved how it encapsulated that duality it spoke of: bleak, yet beautiful. Fabulous. Great job from @dogstartheatre – the actors must be knackered!

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!

Read @Kevin_MacNeil #TheStornowayWay years ago, tonight went to @EdenCourt the watch the play. Wow, what a brilliant piece of theatre

Oh…. wow!!! @dogstartheatre it was beyond my greatest imagination!! The best!! Go girls!! You did us #storweigens proud!!! X with

@Kevin_MacNeil awesome writting #awseome #cleverness and we loved it

Love, whisky, self-destruction, jokes, songs, ace cast,

@Kevin_MacNeil ‘s zen wisdom Thats #thestornowayway

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

Awesome performances tonight from @dogstartheatre in #TheStornawayWay Funny, poignant and thought provoking. Check out where they are next and get along!

Really enjoyed this show! Well done girls, brilliant performances, lovely writing and direction.

Absolutely amazing. Beautiful, funny & sad. Terrific theatre.


‘The Stornoway Way’ finds humour in dark tale of life on Lewis

Culture/Arts in General

Gratitude, B&F tour dates…


Time for some gratitude and some catching up! I’ve been meaning to write this blog for an age, but I’ve been too busy (in a good way). I am grateful to everyone who has supported The Brilliant & Forever, my new novel, which came out this year. The critical response has been wonderful, thoughtful, humbling:

The book has a slightly revamped cover, with a funky new title font and quotations from reviews added.
It’s been a joy and a privilege to read from The Brilliant & Forever and sign books at so many events and festivals already this year. I also loved doing events for the film I co-wrote, Hamish: The Movie, and for the book I wrote with Roseanne Watt (Shetland) and Alison Miller (Orkney).
Here are the upcoming dates on my B&F tour – I hope to see some of you there. Thank you again for appreciating The Brilliant & Forever and what it’s about, and for spreading the word.
I will blog again soon. I’m currently writing a new book which, true to form, is a little on the unexpected side…Anyway, here are those dates. Click on the links for more information. Thank you again.

25th August 2016 Blackwell’s Bookshop, Writers at the Fringe (evening)
26th August Far From the Madding Crowd, Linlithgow (evening)
27th August Edinburgh International Book Festival (morning)
16th-18th September Three Lochs Festival
23rd-25th August Wigtown Book Festival (island writing event and a solo perspective on Shakespeare’s The Tempest)
28th September-3rd October Manxfest, Isle of Man
13th October Arcadia University, Edinburgh
17th-22nd October Moniack Mhor
2nd-5th November Faclan Book festival, Stornoway (delivering the Royal Literary Fund talk and featuring in the debut live performance of Akutagawa, the new band with Willie Campbell, Colin ‘The Boy Who Trapped the Sun’ Macleod and me; listen to one of our songs here)
25th-27th November WordPlay, Shetland (tbc)
28th November University of Glasgow (lunchtime reading – open to public and students alike, more details nearer the time)


Culture/Arts in General

Update – New Year, New Novel, New New New

Happy New Year! This is a good time to blog about 2015 and 2016. I haven’t written here for a while, mainly because I’ve been so busy. I’m thrilled to announce my new novel The Brilliant & Forever is released in March. It’s my best book yet. Here’s what my publisher says about it:

This is a novel like no other; a whip-cracking, energetic, laugh-out-loud satire on what we value in culture, and in our lives. And yet, written with exquisite warmth and empathy, The Brilliant & Forever is also a moving exploration of integrity, friendship and belonging. It’ll split your sides and break your heart.


I’ve already got some exciting appearances booked in to promote The Brilliant & Forever but I can’t say what they are yet – so look out for me at your favourite festivals this year.

Talking of festivals, some of my highlights of 2015 were my events at Loopallu and the Edinburgh International Book Festival. Loopallu is primarily a friendly music festival that sells out swiftly every year – and little wonder. It’s intimate, memorable and perfectly curated (sorry to use the ‘c’ word but I think it’s allowable in this context…)


As well as performing my first public reading from The Brilliant & Forever there, I did a spoken word gig and songwriting workshop with my old pal Willie Campbell (whose 2016 also looks fantastic, given that astrid are reforming and have recorded a new album in L.A. – it comes out in summer). 2016 will also see the release of new material I recorded with Willie Campbell and Colin Macleod (the artist formerly known as The Boy Who Trapped the Sun) in Colin’s studio in our native Hebrides. This new band/songwriting partnership is called Akutagawa. Filmmaker Jim Hope documented the recordings we did. I wrote the lyrics and mumbled on one track, and Willie and Colin worked their musical magic. We’re all really proud of the result – you’ll hear and see more about us soon.

photo-1 copy

The Edinburgh Book Festival gig was also a blend of music and words, in support of a bilingual (Gaelic-English) book of poems and essays I edited, Struileag: Cladach gu Cladach/Shore to Shore. I was joined onstage by Rachel Newton, Aonghas MacNeacail, Babs NicGriogair and Alasdair Whyte – incredible talents, all.

In the latter part of the year, I co-wrote and conducted interviews for a feature-length documentary film, working alongside Robbie Fraser and bees nees media. It’s all about the fascinating and complex force of nature that was Hamish Hendersonand will be out in 2016.

Right now I’m working on a story commission for Alex MacDonald at An Lanntair, Stornoway. (I’m going up to Lewis this week for research and inspiration). More on that soon.

2015 wasn’t just about writing – I counteracted all that sitting down typing with a great deal of cycling (including a number of sportives, Ride London and the Festive 500) plus I developed an unexpected love for running 10k races. I continued with my voluntary work, too.

Hope to meet – and re-meet – a few of you in the coming year. I’ll be keeping you posted on all my activities so come and say ‘hi’ and let me know what you think of The Brilliant & Forever

Oh, and finally! Katsu here doesn’t know it yet, but he’s getting a new friend in January, a young half-sister.


Culture/Arts in General

RideLondon-Surrey 100, 2015

Ride London 100 – done! Despite feeling unwell (upset stomach and weird lingering fatigue and weakness that began mid-week) and despite only getting 2.5 hours’ sleep, I cycled the 100 miles in 5 hours 36 minutes exactly (this includes stops to fill water bottles, grab some gels and take the occasional ‘natural break’). My actual riding time was about 5 hours 15. I’m very pleased with that. It was warm and started getting hot, so my peely-wally Scottish skin is also glad I finished shortly after mid-day. Thank you so very much to those who have already sponsored me. If you haven’t yet, but wish to do so, here is the link. Asthma UK is a hugely worthwhile charity. Thank you thank you thank you.


Culture/Arts in General

Writing, meditation and yoga course – last few places!


I’m teaching meditation and writing at beautiful Moniack Mhor, in Inverness-shire, from 8 – 13 June. There are still a few spaces available so sign up quickly if you’re interested! Here’s a bit more information…

This course is inspired by the classical ideal of a healthy mind in a healthy body. Meditation and yoga are the perfect complements to writing, helping you to focus, be more creative, generate ideas and solve problems. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced writer, you’ll develop a new set of innovative creative writing skills, and will learn how to use meditative disciplines to hone your work and be more productive. Start the morning with a revitalising yoga class, then spend the day in writing workshops, interspersed with short periods of group meditation. You’ll receive individual one-to-one sessions with the highly experienced writing tutor, to focus closely on your work. And there’ll be time to read, reflect, write and explore the beautiful local area – or just relax in famously friendly Moniack Mhor. It doesn’t matter whether you’re new to yoga, meditation, writing or all three – or you have some experience in some or all of these areas – the course will be tailored to suit your needs.

Kevin MacNeil is an award-winning poet, novelist, editor and writing tutor from the Outer Hebrides, now resident in London. His books include Love and Zen in the Outer Hebrides and A Method Actor’s Guide to Jekyll and Hyde. He is a keen cyclist and a practising Buddhist with lots of experience of meditation techniques.

Yoga: Charlotte Esme Turner will be leading morning yoga sessions.

Guest: Kit Fraser is the author of three memoir/self-help books, including The Joy of Talk, and Old Age: My Three Best Friends Alcohol, Television and God. He is the co-founder and chair of Moniack Mhor.

Yoga teachers are eligible for a £100 grant.

To book, click here.

Culture/Arts in General

Aye Write festival, Glasgow, Saturday 25 April

I’m chairing an event about the culture, imagination, identity and diaspora of the Gaels, to celebrate the publication of my latest book, Struileag: Shore to Shore, a collection of specially commissioned bilingual poems and essays. With poets Aonghas MacNeacail and Babs NicGriogair, and singer Alasdair Whyte. The event is 19.30-20.30, £9, the Mitchell Library, North Street, Glasgow. You can find out more about my event and all the others here.
More news about the book coming very soon…

Culture/Arts in General

Book now! Mind Body Spirit: Writing & Yoga at Moniack Mhor

I’m excited to be teaching creative writing and meditation techniques at Moniack Mhor Creative Writing Centre in Inverness-shire, 8 – 13 June. My co-tutor is memoirist and former Times journalist Rachel Kelly, and Charlotte Esme Turner will be leading morning yoga sessions. To find out more or book your place, please contact Moniack Mhor. IMG_1123

Culture/Arts in General Literature Music/Literature Newsworthy

Rare KM & WC gig tomorrow night at EdBookFest!


Willie and I are playing a rare gig tomorrow night at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. We’re honoured, delighted. and very much looking forward to it. The gig is part of the lively Jura Unbound strand that takes place in the wondrous Guardian Spiegeltent – it’s a free, drop-in event that starts at 9pm. I’d advise you to get there early because it’s liable to be busy, plus our Very Special Guests are not to be missed.

Willie and I will play tracks from our Visible From Space album, plus Willie will do some solo work – the astounding one-man band looping-pedal stuff that takes serious co-ordination and which he does so well.


I’m thrilled to say that we will be joined by the pre-eminent Shetland poet and novelist Robert Alan Jamieson and terrific singer-songwriter, Island Review writer and all-round-good-guy Jordan Ogg. They, like me, were friends and fans of the late Lise Sinclair and we’re dedicating our night to her memory – in a celebratory fashion, as she would have doubtless wanted. (Click here to read Mary Blance’s poignant, eloquent obituary to learn more about Lise, or better yet get a hold of one of her CDs.)


Edinburgh International Book Festival

Jura Unbound

Kevin MacNeil & Willie Campbell

Thursday 15 August

9:00pm – 11:00pm

The Guardian Spiegeltent

Free & Drop-in

bikes Newsworthy Personal

Thank You!

Friends, I’m touched that so many of you have donated to the charitable causes on whose behalf I’ve cycled the Danube/Ness-Leverburgh/RideLondon100. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Between us we’ve raised £6539-33 for Cancer Research, Macmillan Cancer Support, Bethesda Hospice and Guide Dogs. None of these cycles was easy – they all involved fixed-gear or single-speed bikes, and they all involved pain! Because I don’t wish to impose upon your kindness, the next (95-mile, single-speed) bike ride and the half-marathon are not for charity, just for ‘fun’. And because I value your support, anyone who has sponsored me for any of these bike rides can email me with Short Story as the subject and I will email you back a free, unpublished short story. Can’t say fairer than that. Again, thank you, on behalf of all these charities. Your donations are making a real difference to real people.x


bikes Culture/Arts in General

100-mile single-speed bike ride to raise £££ for Guide Dogs

A happy wee fellow who will one day add to a visually impaired person's quality of life
A happy wee fellow who will one day add to a visually impaired person’s quality of lifeI’m doing a 100-mile cycle (all in one go) on a single-speed bike (a bike with only one gear) – but I’m doing it for charity, not because I like pain!

I’m doing a 100-mile cycle (all in one go) on a single-speed bike (a bike with only one gear) – but I’m doing it for charity, not because I like pain!

That charity is Guide Dogs, a very worthy cause indeed. (Some of you will know I’ve had my own eye problems). Any donations, no matter how big or small, will be most gratefully received.

The 100-mile route starts in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in East London, where I will follow a modified version of the road race rouvivapicte used in the 2012 Olympic Games. Rather worryingly, Leith Hill and Box Hill feature, both of them leg- and lungbusters, especially on a single-speed bike!

We will ride along closed roads through the capital, and then continue on to the country roads of the Surrey Hills before heading back into central London to cross the finish line in the Mall. I’ll probably collapse a few centimetres after the finish line, but that’s okay!
I’ve been training really hard for this but there’s no doubt it’s going to be one of the toughest days in the saddle I’ve ever had, maybe THE toughest. Here’s the Route Map And Profile.

Profile looks a bit daunting
Profile looks a bit daunting



Please consider sponsoring me for this vital cause: