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Norman MacCaig Centenary Celebration

It's all over, but it went well. If you missed it, there'll be another chance, but probably not for a hundred years! Alternatively you can watch the video.

Some of the highlights were the children's poetry, art exhibitions and we'll feature some of these here when we're a little less tired.

norman maccaig photoProgramme      Tickets      Accommodation          Media         Contact

2010 is the centenary of the birth of the poet Norman MacCaig, who wrote much of his best-loved poems about the north-west Highlands, especially Assynt. The local community remembers Norman well, as he and his family were welcome visitors every summer for decades, so we organised a special week-long celebration in his honour. It was an exhilarating week inspired by poetry that remains as fresh today as when it was written.

We were delighted to welcome a stella line-up to perform during the celebration, including  Glasgow's poet laureate, Liz Lochhead, literary editor and writer Alan Taylor, Gaelic poet Rody Gorman, harpist Wendy Stewart, poet and literature professor Alan Riach and the painter of the masterpiece, 'Poets' Pub', Sandy Moffat. We also had the pleasure of the company of several of the winners of the Norman MacCaig Poetry Competition: Pippa Little, Nancy Campbell, Angus Ogilvy, Stephanie Green and Ruth Aylett.


  • All week: A creative retreat week at Glencanisp Lodge.
  • Friday 5 Nov 19.30: Opening of a local exhibition of art inspired by MacCaig’s poetry, Assynt Leisure Centre, with music by harpist Wendy Stewart. The Lochinver exhibition will run 5-13 November.
  • Saturday 6 Nov 14.00: Opening of In Response 2, an exhibition of art inspired by MacCaig’s poetry, An Talla Solais, Ullapool, to run 4-21 November.
  • Monday 8 Nov 14.00: Guided walk to the locations of some of MacCaig’s Assynt poems (Inverkirkaig)
  • Monday 8 Nov 16.00: Launch of a new volume of selected poems by Norman MacCaig, The Many Days, Polygon.  Achins bookshop, Inverkirkaig.
  • Tuesday 10 Nov 14.00: Guided walk to the locations of some of MacCaig’s Assynt poems (Achmelvich)
  • Tuesday 9 Nov 20.00: Norman MacCaig’s poetry and Scottish Art, by Alan Riach (professor of Scottish Literature, Glasgow University) and Sandy Moffat (former head of Glasgow School of Art). Announcement of the winners of the Norman MacCaig Poetry Competition.
  • Thursday 11 Nov 10.00: Norman MacCaig’s poetry in schools
  • Thursday 11 Nov 14.00: Guided walk to the locations of some of MacCaig’s Assynt poems (Glencanisp)
  • Thursday 11 Nov 17.00: MacCaig films/videos
  • Thursday 11 Nov 20.00: Poetry, Peace and a Pint. Caberfeidh, Lochinver
  • Friday 12 Nov 14.30: Norman Conquest - A gentle introduction to MacCaig's poetry with Alan Taylor
  • Friday 12 Nov 17.00: Poetry reading by Liz Lochhead and other visiting poets
  • Friday 12 Nov 20.00: Grand ceilidh, 8 til late. Lochinver Village Hall. Readings by winners of the Norman MacCaig Poetry Competition, music, dance, food and drink.

Watch out for poems by children from Lochinver and Stoer Primary School and Ullapool High School posted in various locations around Assynt.

The Itinerant Poetry Librarian was in Assynt for the whole week and even managed a meta-itinerant library session on board the mobile library van. 

Radio, TV and Other Media Coverage

We'll keep you posted here of any media highlights we hear about. If you're planning to cover the MacCaig centenary, please let us know!

BBC Radio Scotland are making a special programme about MacCaig, in which Mark Stephen explores the mountains, lochs and beaches of Assynt through the poetry of MacCaig, and discovers why this ancient landscape is so special. 'Norman MacCaig's Assynt' is on Out of Doors on Saturday 6 November, 0700 and again on Sunday 7 November at 1100 on BBC Radio Scotland.

In 1993 MacCaig recorded a conversation with his friend the Shetland fiddler, Aly Bain, at the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh. A Culture Cafe centenary special in honour of the man who used to call himself 'arguably the greatest living poet in Tollcross'(!) will be going out on BBC Radio Scotland's Culture Café slot at 13.15 - 14.00 on Tuesday 9 November.

Douglas Edie is directing a film about MacCaig, which will include footage of Assynt, a fishing trip featuring Andrew Greig, Ally Bain and Billy Connolly and other delights. It is provisionally due to be screened on BBC2 on Monday 8 November at 2100 and again on BBC4 on Sunday 14 November. 

BBC Highland will be recording in Assynt on 5 November.


Thanks to Hi-Arts, the Andrew Tannahil Trust for the Furtherance of Scottish Literature, the Highland Culture Programme, Polygon books and our local Highland Councillors for financial support and to all the local people and friends of the MacCaigs for their time, energy, ideas and enthusiasm in helping to make this celebration possible.


For more information contact Mandy Haggith,, 01571 844020, mobile 07734 235704



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