William Neill (poet)

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For other persons named William Neill, see William Neill.

William Neill (22 February 1922 – 5 April 2010) was an Ayrshire-born poet who wrote in Scottish and Irish Gaelic, Lowland Scots and English. He was a major contributing voice to the Scottish Renaissance.[1]

Early life[edit]

Neill was educated at Ayr Academy and later took an Honours degree in Celtic studies and English at Edinburgh. He was a frequent contributor to both Catalyst and Gairm magazines and subsequently became the second editor of Catalyst magazine. As a young writer, he studied the poets of the Scottish Renaissance, and viewed 'modern assertions that "Scots was dying in the time of Burns" as the assertions of dyed-in-the-wool townies.


Neill taught English at Castle Douglas High School, his wife taught at the primary school. Occasionally he would sicken of teaching English and conduct lessons in Scots instead.


Awards for poetry have included The Grierson Verse Prize (1970), Sloan Prize (1970) and a Scottish Arts Council Book Award (1985). He lived in Galloway and was born in Prestwick, Ayrshire.


  • Scotland's Castle, Reprographia (Gordon Wright), 1969
  • Four Points of a Saltire, Reprographia (Gordon Wright), 1970
  • Then and now: poems and songs, W. Neill
  • Poems, Akros Publications, 1970
  • Despatches Home, Reprographia (Gordon Wright), 1972, ISBN 0-903065-07-X
  • Wild places: poems in three leids, Luath Press, 1985
  • Making Tracks: and other poems, Gordon Wright Publishing, 1988, ISBN 0-903065-65-7
  • Tales frae the Odyssey o Homer, Saltire Society, 1992, ISBN 0-854110496
  • Selected poems, 1969-1992, Canongate Press, 1994, ISBN 978-0-86241-476-4
  • Galloway landscapes: poems, URR Publications, 1981, ISBN 978-0-9507609-0-2; Previous Parrot Press, 1997
  • Caledonian Cramboclink, Luath Press, 2000, ISBN 978-0-946487-53-0

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "William Neill, Poet". The Herald. 11 April 2010. 

External links[edit]