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The Donald Meek Award 2019 for the Gaelic Book of the Year has been presented to the writer John Urquhart for Turas (Journey), his debut collection of poetry.
The presentation took place at a ceremony at the National Piping Centre in Glasgow on Thursday September 26. This is the first time that the foremost prize for Gaelic writing has been awarded to a collection of original unpublished poetry.
Additional funding from Bòrd na Gàidhlig has allowed the competition to broaden in recent years, and two other authors were also awarded prizes.
Well-known poet, Myles Campbell was in second place with Gràs, a collection of religious poems to be launched by Handsel Press at the Royal National Mod in Glasgow this month, while Morag Ann MacNeil was awarded third prize for her children’s story, Artair sa Chaisteal.
Alison Lang, Director of the Gaelic Books Council, said: ‘It gives us great pleasure to be able to recognise the talents of the writers who have received this year’s awards, and we are grateful to our funders and to all those who support the Gaelic Books Council. Congratulations to John, Myles and Morag Ann; we look forward to seeing their books in print.’
Following the award, John Urquhart said: ‘Without a doubt, this is the greatest honour of my life as a writer. I am delighted and especially thankful to the judges for such recognition for my book, Turas – a poetic look at my life experiences, along with a few thoughts on the twists and turns of the world.’
The Donald Meek Award was established in 2010 by the Gaelic Books Council, in collaboration with Creative Scotland, with a view to encouraging new and established Gaelic writers. This year’s entries included poetry, children’s fiction and academic research.