Western Isles bring The Brilliant & Forever literary festival to life

An Lanntair and award-winning author Kevin MacNeil bring MacNeil’s cult novel ‘The Brilliant & Forever’ to real-life, presenting a Brilliant & Forever real-life literary competition (open to all), and a Brilliant & Forever real-life literary festival on Lews Castle Green, complete with real-life alpacas.

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An Lanntair is excited to present a real-life The Brilliant & Forever literary competition this summer – complete with real-life alpacas – and is issuing a call for entries.

When author Kevin MacNeil’s cult novel The Brilliant & Forever was published it attracted widespread acclaim: ‘This is a book about how everyone has a story worth telling,’ said The Independent, ‘and one worth hearing too.’

The idea that everyone has stories to tell is a compelling one, and An Lanntair and Kevin MacNeil are about to prove how true it is in this Seanachas event, part of Scotland’s Year of Stories 2022 programme.

MacNeil’s novel seems fictitious – after all, it features talking alpacas. But life is imitating art, and the story is coming to life in the Outer Hebrides as this unique literary festival takes place in Stornoway’s beautiful and historic Lews Castle Green (the setting for the novel) on Saturday August 6.

The Brilliant & Forever book follows the adventures of a group of writers who compete in a festival that is like a cross between a traditional book festival, The X Factor, and a music festival – and this exuberant mix is what is coming to the Castle Green.

Writers – whether aspiring or established, local or international – are invited to participate in The Brilliant & Forever competition. Shortlisted authors will perform their work in front of members of the public, two of Scotland’s most respected literary judges, and of course alpacas.

Author Kevin MacNeil said: ‘We all have engaging things to share, and individual ways of saying them. This competition is a quirky celebration of storytelling and a way of giving back to the community.

‘We hope to create a truly memorable and enjoyable event. It’s both serious and entertaining, and to reflect this, the prizes are solemn (literary glory) and fun (bespoke trophies, limited edition t-shirts etc).’

A spokes-alpaca added: ‘Come for the t-shirt, stay for the lit fest.’

Entry to The Brilliant & Forever competition – featuring both an open category and a 14-18 years category – is free and open now.

Writers may submit only one piece of prose and all styles, genres, and themes are welcome – the emphasis is on quality and creativity. Submissions must be unpublished and the original work of the author. They may be written in any of Scotland’s languages, including (but not limited to) English, Gaelic, Scots, Shetlandic etc, however submissions in a language other than English must be accompanied by an English translation.

Following the initial round of judging, An Lanntair will invite shortlisted authors to participate in The Brilliant & Forever Festival in Stornoway where the overall winner shall be judged and announced on Saturday August 6.

Full entry details for the The Brilliant & Forever literary competition – including word count and formatting – and entry forms can be found on An Lanntair’s website at: www.lanntair.com. Please read carefully before submission of work. Entries should be sent to moira@anlanntair.com. The deadline for submissions is Friday July 9.