This year’s Donald Meek Award for the best Gaelic book of 2012 has been awarded to Dr Moray Watson of the University of Aberdeen.
Dr Watson is a Senior Lecturer in Gaelic Studies in the School of Language and Literature. He received the prestigious award for his edition of the Gaelic poetry of Iain Crichton Smith (Iain Mac a’ Ghobhainn). The book is due to be published by Acair in the autumn, after many years of painstaking editing workAcair manager Agnes Rennie said: “Acair is proud to be publishers of this year’s winner of the Donald Meek Award. Moray Watson’s book was shortlisted alongside a very strong field and we congratulate all of those in the final list.”
The strong short-list also featured excellent books by Pàdraig MacAoidh and Niall O’Gallagher, Janet Ghrigor and Michael Bauer. Dr Watson was presented with the prize by leading poet Aonghas MacNeacail at a special ceremony at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. Mr MacNeacail, who chaired the judging panel, commented that the standard of nominated books was extremely high this year and that all of the short-listed books were excellent.
Dr Watson said: “I’m delighted to have won this very significant award. Although the Donald Meek Award has only been running for three years, it has already attained an exceptionally high status, thanks partly to the first-class books that have been short-listed in each of those three years. I would like to thank Acair for the magnificent job they have done with preparing the book for publication, Ian MacDonald for his meticulous proofing of the text, and the poet’s widow Donalda for her permission to carry out the project in the first place.”
Commenting at the major international conference on Gaelic Studies at Glasgow University last week, Dr Watson said: “This is a very exciting time to be interested in modern Gaelic literature. With new collections of the work of the renaissance poets just published, and with new critics coming onto the scene, using a combination of tried and trusted Gaelic scholarship and new ideas drawn from experience of other disciplines, we are now working towards a fresh and multi-layered understanding of Gaelic literature.”
For more information about the Donald Meek Award, see the Gaelic Books Council.