CBU book of poetry up for prestigious prize – Donald Meek Literary Award for Gaelic writers

Sydney, NS – A Cape Breton University Press  book of Gaelic poetry has been shortlisted for an important literary award in Scotland.

 Beartan Briste agus dàin Gàidlhig eile (Burstbroken Judgementshroudloomdeeds and Other Gaelic Poems) is a book of contemporary Gaelic poetry by Rody Gorman.

Awarded for the first time in 2010, the Donald Meek Literary Award is sponsored by Bòrd na Gàidhlig, the principal public authority leading development in Gaelic, and the Scottish Arts Council. The prize is administered by Comhairle nan Leabhraichean (Gaelic Books Council) in Glasgow.

The Irish-born Gorman is writer-in-residence at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig university, on the Isle of Skye.

Beartan Bristeis the latest collection from this prolific Gaelic poet. In it, highly original English “intertongueings” are wonderfully entertaining in their own right – providing insight not only to the nature of his poetry, but the nature of Gaelic interpretation.

In his forward to Beartan Briste, Gaelic scholar Robert Dunbar, a Canadian researcher at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, highlights the fact that the book’s poems are written by a Dubliner living in Skye and published in Cape Breton. This is not just an accident of globalization, says Dunbar, but an indication of the close ties among Gaelic speakers.

In 2009, Donald Meek, a native of Tiree, was named as a sàr-Ghàidheal  –  Gaelic champion – following his retirement from a distinguished academic career. Meek’s contribution to Gaelic has been widely recognized. In his name, the literary award is aimed at supporting initiatives for Gaelic writers and encouraging new talent.

The 2011 Donald Meek Literary Award  will be awarded August 18 at the Edinburgh International Book Festival.

In a new review of Beartan Briste, Amherst Daily News (July 22) says: "Gorman's inventive bilingual poetry [is] both succinct and complex." "Readers will marvel at Gorman's inventiveness [in translation]."

Mike Hunter, CBU Press