The third annual Dr Gavin Wallace Fellowship to be hosted by the National Library of Scotland has been awarded to poet, novelist, journalist and actor, Angus Peter Campbell.
The Fellowship was launched by Creative Scotland in 2013 and provides a writer with time and support to develop their work, in partnership with a host organisation. It was established in memory of Dr Wallace who committed his entire professional life to helping writers and literature organisations in Scotland.
Angus Peter Campbell, who writes in both Gaelic and English, will be invited to explore ways in which the Library’s collections reflect Scotland’s past and present.
Commenting after being appointed to the role, Angus said. “I loved and admired Dr Gavin Wallace as a generous man who encouraged writers because he knew that literature is – to quote Italo Calvino — ‘the promised land of language.’ I am particularly pleased that Gavin’s family support this Fellowship and my thanks to Creative Scotland who fund it as an appropriate tribute to him. It’s an honour to follow the two previous Fellows who have had this award — those wonderful writers Kirsty Logan and Jen Hadfield.
“I am especially delighted that the Fellowship is to be based at another national treasure of ours — the National Library of Scotland. I feel like a child about to be let loose in Charlie’s Chocolate factory: the theme of the Fellowship is ‘the recorded memory of Scotland’, and I look forward to the surprises that are in store for me as I delve into the manuscripts, tapes, books, maps, letters, audio and visual and digital recordings which the people of Scotland have left for all of us.
“My task will be to make creative use of these treasures during, and after, the year-long Fellowship. I will try and not be like Long John Silver who kept the pieces-of-eight to himself! Instead, we’ll share them, through the marvels of digital technology and the greater marvel of writing.”
Born on South Uist, Peter Campbell is a politics and history graduate from the University of Edinburgh. He has published four collections of poetry and six Gaelic novels. The acclaimed Scottish Gaelic poet Sorley MacLean once said of him: “I have no doubts that Angus Peter Campbell is one of the few really significant living poets in Scotland, writing in any language.”
National Librarian, Dr John Scally, said staff looked forward to introducing Peter Campbell to the collections and helping him to make best use of them. “This is an exciting partnership that chimes very well with our commitment to promote the wide use of our collections and to make the Library a place of research and creativity.”
Kaite Welsh, Literature Officer at Creative Scotland, said: “Angus Peter Campbell is one of Scotland’s finest poets, and we are delighted that he will be taking up residence at the National Library as the 2015/16 Dr Gavin Wallace Fellow. His poetry captures Scottish life in precise brushstrokes, and the fluidity of his prose in both English and Gaelic is a joy to read. What better writer to explore Scotland’s recorded memory?”
Dr. Gavin Wallace
Dr. Gavin Wallace was a central figure in Scotland’s literature world for many years. Gavin joined the Scottish Arts Council in August 1997 as Literature Officer and later moved on to become the Head of Literature, a position he held for eight years before being appointed as Portfolio Manager for Literature, Publishing and Language at Creative Scotland in June 2010. Gavin previously worked as a teacher, lecturer, critic, journalist, editor and broadcaster, and was an Associate Lecturer in Literature and the Humanities at the Open University in Scotland from 1991-2001. He carried out graduate and postgraduate study, in English and Scottish Literature, at the University of Edinburgh. See more information about the Dr. Gavin Wallace Fellowship.
Writer Kirsty Logan and poet Jen Hadfield were appointed as the first and second Dr Gavin Wallace Fellows respectively, undertaking their Fellowships in partnership with the Association for Scottish Literary Studies and creative writing centre, Moniack Mhor.