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Kevin MacNeil is an award-winning writer from the Outer Hebrides now living in London. He is a novelist, poet, editor and screenwriter. The Brilliant & Forever is his third novel.
Author photo © Charlie Clift
A delightfully unique and quirky novel that is able to provoke a sledgehammer of emotions into action. Three friends are due to take part in the annual Brilliant and Forever literary competition, and this is a competition with a difference. While the focus remains on the three friends, the competition entries are included, consequently we read stories within the story, which encourages thought processes to fly in new directions. ‘The Brilliant and Forever’ isn't a book to gobble down in one sitting, I sometimes re-read sentences just to let them soak into my soul. The writing is different, at times quite beautiful, while at others I sat and scratched my head as I puzzled and allowed thoughts to float just out of reach. Kevin MacNeil has created a striking, often amusing, sometimes menacing, and provocative tale. As soon as I had finished, I re-opened the book at random, sat back down and started to read again. March 2016 Book of the Month. Click here to listen to a podcast about this book with Kevin MacNeil A 'Piece of Passion' from the publisher... 'A new novel by Kevin MacNeil is always something to get excited about, and I mean that as a reader as well as a publisher. When that novel is as marvellously invigorating as The Brilliant & Forever, well, let’s pop those champagne corks! Both a sharp satire on the culture industry and a true celebration of storytelling, it’s a book lover’s dream of a novel. It tells the story of three friends—two human, one alpaca—as they prepare to take part in their home island’s literary festival where either glory or infamy awaits. It’s funny (there’s lots of quotable lines.) It’s moving (you root for so many of the wonderful characters.) It’s hugely imaginative (Haiku-kery! Talking alpacas!) Oh, it’s unique. You’ve really never read a novel like it…' ~ Vikki Reilly, Birlinn Ltd
This is one of those books you begin reading, a little intrigued as to where it’s going, trying to second guess it, continue reading, find you can’t second guess, get nearer and nearer to the end, discover a great twist and realise you have just read a brilliant and clever book and now need to start all over again! A Method Actor's Guide to Jekyll and Hyde is a dark, maniacal thriller that explores many kinds of duality - individual, social and cultural, and is a heartfelt tale about the search for belonging and the nature of love and desire. We don’t want to give too much away so we’ll just say it’s great and bloody funny – give it a go.
October 2010 Book of the Month. This is one of those books you begin reading, a little intrigued as to where it’s going, trying to second guess it, continue reading, find you can’t second guess, get nearer and nearer to the end, discover a great twist and realise you have just read a brilliant and clever book and now need to start all over again! We don’t want to give too much away so we’ll just say it’s great and funny – give it a go.
Many of Scotland's most important poets grew up or chose to live on Scottish islands. This anthology pays tribute to the islands' creative output by bringing together a huge array of poetic talent, from the internationally-renowned - Sorley Maclean, Iain Crichton Smith, George Mackay Brown, Ian Hamilton Finlay, Hugh MacDairmid - to those fantastic poets deserving of more attention - Jim Mainland, Aonghas MacNeacail, Meg Bateman, Alex Cluness, Jen Hadfield, and many more - in one wonderful collection. With poems exploring the themes of love, language, landscape, identity and belonging, These Islands, We Sing is a significant and heartfelt celebration of poetry and place.
If you haven't yet met Archie the Alpaca now's your chance. Prolific writer, social observer, grassiccino drinker, occasional dancer and loyal friend, Archie sees the world like no-one else. Gathered here are his thoughts, feelings, loves, hates and everything in between. From his remarks on the volume of phone conversations to friendship with cats, tributes to great art and artists, and the joy of being Salvador Dali, his diary will teach you to think about everything you know just a little bit differently.
First imagined in the 1960s but never published, this collection of Robert Louis Stevenson's essays, fables and short stories was imagined by Jorge Luis Borges and Adolfo Bioy Casares - a collection of their favourite works of non-fiction, short stories and fables. The themes - integrity, intellectual and imaginative truth, literary meaning, the fantastic - are common to all three authors, and these connections are explored in an introduction by Kevin MacNeil. Including such classic tales as 'The Bottle Imp' and rare essays on crime, morality, dreams and romance, Robert Louis Stevenson: The Argentina Edition is rich, eloquent and utterly readable.
On an island like no other, the annual Brilliant & Forever festival is a much anticipated event; its participants a story away from either glory or infamy. This year, three best friends - two human, one alpaca - are chosen to compete, so victory is not only about reward.The glitterati descends, the festival begins: thirteen performers, each have their own story to tell. Who will be chosen by the judges? Who will be chosen by the people? This is a novel like no other; a whip-cracking, energetic, laugh-out-loud satire on what we value in culture, and in our lives. And yet, written with exquisite warmth and empathy, The Brilliant & Forever is also a moving exploration of integrity, friendship and belonging. It'll split your sides and break your heart.
'Fuck everyone from Holden Caulfield to Bridget Jones, fuck all the American and English phoney fictions that claim to speak for us; they don't know the likes of us exist and they never did. We are who we are because we grew up the Stornoway way. We do not live in the back of beyond, we live in the very heart of beyond ...' Meet R Stornoway, drink-addled misfit, inhabitant of the Hebridean Isle of Lewis, and meandering man fighting to break free of an island he just can't seem to let go of...
This collection marks the arrival of a major new talent in Scottish poetry. Kevin MacNeil's voice and vision, while rooted in the Hebridean islands, is open to a wide range of cultures, not only those of Scotland - from Gaeldom to urban Scotland - but to the wider European and American mind and, through his interest in Zen Buddhism, to Japanese and Chinese culture. With astonishing freshness and versatility, MacNeil's poetry creates powerful connections and new combinations -he has wit as well as feeling, a powerful sense of the past and the local while being resolutely turned towards the future and the cross-cultural.