Photo of writer Dòmhnall Uilleam Stiùbhart signing copies of 'Rìoghachd nan Eilean' at the launchNEW BOOK AND NEW PORTRAIT

A new Gaelic book was launched and a new portrait of Sorley MacLean was unveiled at a literary evening in Sabhal Mòr Ostaig last week (10.05.05). There is strong link between book and portrait, for the book's publisher is Clò Hallaig, a new press established by Ishbel MacLean, Sorley's daughter. The book, Rìoghachd nan Eilean, (The Kingdom of the Isles) is based on a TV series of the same name broadcast by BBC2 in early 2003. Ishbel played a major role in the project and it was she who did the preparatory work and who also produced the series.

The book itself was written by Dòmhnall Uilleam Stiùbhart from Back in Lewis. It covers 1000 years of the history of the Gael from 550 to 1550. It was supported by The Gaelic Books Council, Stòrlann Nàiseanta na Gàidhlig and Seirbheis nam Meadhanan Gàidhlig.

Also on show was the portrait: it was donated to the College by the artist Peter Edwards from Oswestry, Shropshire. Mr Edwards has painted many portraits of people such as Sir Bobby Charlton and poets Douglas Dunn and Adrian Hendri. The painting itself is over 8 feet in height and shows Sorley standing on the shore at Peinachorrain in Braes, with Glamaig in the background. Mr Edwards personally presented the College with the painting.

Photo of Prof Norman Gillies, Mr Peter Edwards and Mrs Renee MacLean admiring the new portrait of Sorley MacLeanProfessor Norman Gillies thanked Mr Edwards on behalf of the College and Alasdair MacRae spoke on behalf of The Sorley MacLean Trust. Part of the Trust's remit is to encourage original work from new writers and it was therefore highly appropriate that students from the College and children took part. Seumas Greumach and Kirsteen NicDhòmhnaill sang beautifully and Coinneach Lindsay from Loch Awe and Màiri NicLeòid from Carabost recited interesting short stories. The young poet Teàrlach Quinnell read some new poems. Liam MacIlledhuinn started off and completed the last part of the night with a recital on the pipes. All those named are students at the College, a great encouragement for Gaelic singing, music and literature.

It was also good to see children reading a story they had written themselves. Màiri and Steaphanaidh Chaimbeul read a very amusing story that won first prize at last year's Royal National Mod. Their father, Angus Peter Campbell, was host for the evening.