Schools throughout the Highlands are taking part in an ambitious project being delivered through a joint initiative by the Gaelic Books Council and The Highland Council. ‘Leabhar nan Gàidheal Òga’ The Book of the Young Gaels celebrates the creativity of young Gaelic speakers.
Writers Angus Peter Campbell, Catriona Lexy Campbell, Iain Finlay MacLeod, Morag Stewart, Lisa Storey and Rody Gorman, are delivering creative writing workshops in twenty four primary and high schools with Gaelic-medium pupils.
Pupils in schools throughout the Highland Council area will be invited to design new artwork to complement the new writing during the summer term. By creating a video of young people reading the new work with English translations, both Gaelic-speaking children and those without Gaelic can be involved. It is hoped to involve all areas of the Highlands in designing artwork: a Gaelic nursery in Caithness has already been asked if they can produce artwork.
The project is being coordinated by Johan Byrne, a former Gaelic medium primary school teacher, based in Fort William. She said: “I believe the quality of the work already undertaken by the schools in the first phase is terrific. I’m really looking forward to seeing the writing produced by the young people, and I’m sure that they will be very proud of their work and will be delighted to see it produced professionally by a publisher.”
The new writing and artwork will be published as a book and it is hoped to launch this at the National Mod in Fort William, with an exhibition.
John Storey, of the Gaelic Books Council said, “We are very pleased to be working in partnership with The Highland Council on this very interesting and innovative project. We are really looking forward to seeing the publication develop over the next few months and launching Leabhar nan Gàidheal Òga book in the late Autumn.”
The project was designed by a partnership of Morag Anna MacLeod, Gaelic Officer, Susan Walker, Cultural Coordinator in Schools for Skye and Lochalsh and John Storey of the Gaelic Books Council and has received funding from Bòrd na Gàidhlig, LEADER+, GASD, the Gaelic Books Council and The Highland Council.
Councillor Hamish Fraser, Chairman of the Council’s Gaelic Select Committee said: “I’m delighted with the progress that is being made regarding the development of ‘Leabhar nan Gàidheal Òga’, as established Gaelic writers and authors working with teachers and pupils in our schools where there is Gaelic education is a fabulous idea. The publication which will include writings from schools across the Highlands and will be accompanied by an exhibition will be a lasting legacy post Highland 2007. I wish all the participants every success.”