More than 150 people packed into Ionad Stoodie at Knock on Point on Friday evening (10th August) as the ‘Flesherin Bard’ Willie John Campbell saw a book of his work launch by Stornoway publishers Acair.
Earlier the company said it was “delighted to publish 'Bàrdachd Uilleam Iain Caimbeul / Poems of Willie John Campbell (Willie Teddy)'.
“This is not just a book for the people of Point, it is one that will inspire all of us who feel a strong sense of loyalty to our language, our culture and our roots,” states retired educationist Matthew MacIver from Portnaguran in his introduction.
“Love songs, songs that praise his island home, songs of longing and songs that will make you laugh out loud – they are all here, written in Willie John’s very personal style and this book now shares them with a new generation.”
During the event, there were songs from a variety of people and music from Tonkan, followed by tea, coffee and home baking and the chance to buy the book. A long queue formed at the end of the event to get copies of the book signed by Willie John Campbell himself.
Agnes Rennie, the manager of Acair, said the company welcomed the chance to publish works of this sort, to make sure that the community had access to its own writing. She said that “since Day One” Acair had been working with writers in the community “who have a very special place in the community and whose writing should be recorded and have a place in published form.”
Willie John Campbell was born in December 1938, and educated at Aird School, The Nicolson Institute and the newly founded Lews Castle College where he studied Navigation. His father – who had worked in Canada for many years - was from Portnaguran and his mother from Uig – they ran a shop in Flesherin. Willie John was at sea in the Merchant Navy for many years.
'Bàrdachd Uilleam Iain Caimbeul / Poems of Willie John Campbell (Willie Teddy)' is now available on www.acairbooks.comand through the Baltic Bookshop. It will also be available through Buth an Rubha at Knock.