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Gaelic writers’ survey

25 October 2016


Current and aspiring Gaelic writers are being asked for their views on developing their TV writing talent by MG ALBA, the Gaelic Media Service.

A survey, which is available through the MG ALBA’s website and is being supported by HIE Emergents, is asking for opinions from writers on the sort of work they currently undertake, and what resources would encourage them to write more or embark on different forms of their work. The questionnaire has already had nearly 50 responses and MG ALBA are appealing for other writers to make their views known.

The call for further responses was made as a new European Broadcasting Union Children’s Drama Scheme short film, commissioned by MG ALBA, has been showcased at the Mòd in Stornoway.

Na Saboteurs was filmed on location in Ness, Isle of Lewis, and has an original Gaelic script written by acclaimed writer Catriona Lexy Campbell, who is also making her directorial debut. It is produced by BBC ALBA presenter, Fiona MacKenzie and Kirsty Hines-Mackay.

The new production also features two exceptional young talents in the lead roles: Zoe Mustian and Daniel Macleod. Completing the cast are Artair Donald and Donna Morrison, two of Gaelic’s most well-established performers. Original music was also commissioned for the drama by Ross B. Wilson of Tidelines – his first TV commission. The short film will be shown on BBC ALBA as part of the channel’s Christmas schedule.

Na Saboteurs, and the survey, forms part of MG ALBA’s pursuit to develop Gaelic writing talent.

Writers of all ages and experiences are encouraged to complete the short questionnaire which will then inform MG ALBA’s strategy in this area over future months and years.

Iseabail Mactaggart, Director of Strategy and Partnership at MG ALBA, said: “Developing talent across our creative sector is an intrinsic part of MG ALBA’s work and we are committed to ensuring that writing talent is nurtured as part of this strategy.

“For that reason, we want to learn about the experiences of those who already write in Gaelic – whether for personal enjoyment or professionally. Similarly, we want to hear from those who may want to start writing or write more but feel they are unprepared to do so, maybe through a lack of training or confidence.

“Knowledge of the Gaelic language, and writing skills in particular, can also affect a person’s ability to put pen to paper. We want to know if and where barriers exist and what MG ALBA can do to help overcome these, so we create the foundation for the very best of Gaelic writing to be seen on screen.”

Catriona Lexy Campbell, writer of Na Saboteurs, said: “Na Saboteurs provides an opportunity for young Gaelic talent to get involved in production and we are thrilled with Zoe and Daniel’s performances and how well the film has turned out.

“I was pleased to have the chance to write the script for Na Saboteurs and we need to equip more people with the skill and confidence to develop their Gaelic writing. I have already completed MG ALBA’s survey and would encourage everyone to do so no matter what their level of writing experience is. Only by knowing what needs to be achieved can resources and expertise be directed in the most effective way possible.”

The survey can be accessed via