George IV Bridge – celebrating 50 years

The Sorley Maclean Papers: acquired in 1998

Sorley Maclean's personal and literary papers were bought by the National Library of Scotland two years after his death in 1996. The collection includes drafts of his poems and writings on Gaelic, as well as letters from other Scottish writers and Gaelic scholars.

Sorley Maclean (Somhairle MacGill-Eain) was born on the island of Raasay in 1911. He wrote poetry in Scottish Gaelic, and helped to revitalise the language. He showed that Gaelic has the capacity to express modern themes of passionate love and political debate, while remaining true to its long oral tradition.

Pictured is one of his notebooks, showing a draft of one of his most significant poems, 'Hallaig'. This poem is about a deserted township on Raasay, left empty after its inhabitants emigrated to Australia.

A full catalogue of Maclean's papers at NLS is available as part of the online catalogue of manuscripts.

You can read more about Maclean in 'The Write Stuff', our feature on selected Scottish poets and authors.

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