Category: Literature

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


Hemingway Advises Fitzgerald

I was trying to get him [Fitzgerald] to write his stories as well as he could and not trick them to conform to any formula, as he explained that he did.
‘You’ve written a fine novel,’ I told him. ‘And you mustn’t write slop.’
‘The novel isn’t selling,’ he said. ‘I must write stories and they have to be stories that will sell.’
‘Write the best story you can and write it as straight as you can.’
‘I’m going to,’ he said.

A Moveable Feast
Ernest Hemingway


Reading in New York City this week


I’ll be reading poetry in New York on the 3rd. Please come along if you’re in the area. It’s my first reading there for a decade!

Three Gaelic Poets: Reading “The Great Book”

April 3, 2012 – 7:00PM
Kray Hall
Free and open to the public
Three eminent Gaelic poets — Aonghas Dubh MacNeacail, Christopher Whyte and Kevin MacNeil — will read a selection of poems from The Great Book and selections of their own work.

This is a great opportunity to experience 1,500 years of traditional and contemporary poetry in one of the oldest languages in Europe. The readings will be bi-lingual – in the original Gaelic with English translations. Refreshments will be available.


Polygon/Birlinn – Edinburgh’s best independent publisher

The new Birlinn/Polygon catalogue is here! Does the cover look familiar to you? It should! The paperback of “These Islands, We Sing” is coming very soon!
Click on the link to leaf through the Spring 2012 catalogue.
This picture (below) is of the hardback front cover. The paperback cover has a quotation from England’s greatest living poet, Simon Armitage. I’ll post an image of it when I get one. The hardback had great reviews and has sold well. Onwards!


Happy Burns Day (that’s Robert, not Montgomery)


Happy Robert Burns Day, everyone. To celebrate Scotland’s national bard’s birthday, enjoy one of his best known poems.

O my Luve’s like a red, red rose
That’s newly sprung in June;
O my Luve’s like the melodie
That’s sweetly play’d in tune.

As fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
So deep in luve am I:
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
Till a’ the seas gang dry:

Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi’ the sun:
I will luve thee still, my dear,
While the sands o’ life shall run.

And fare thee well, my only Luve
And fare thee well, a while!
And I will come again, my Luve,
Tho’ it were ten thousand mile.

You can hear a unique version of this poem on the forthcoming William Campbell & Kevin MacNeil album We Are Visible From Space – keep checking back at for details.
Meanwhile here is a link to one of my favourite books (available online) of Burnsiana: the love letters of Sylvander (Burns, always with an eye for the ladies) and Clarinda (Agnes McLehose, educated Edinburgh woman, married but separated, an aspiring poet).