CLÀR would like to set the record straight with regard to the inaccuracies in Crawford Mackie’s letter (20 November) on the success of Tim Armstrong’s ground-breaking novel at the Saltire Society Literary Awards.
Before we do so, we would like to congratulate the Saltire Society on its fantastic commitment to literature in all of Scotland’s indigenous languages.
Mr MacKie states that Tim Armstrong received “funding for a sci-fi yarn in Gaelic”. Tim Armstrong was not paid. Nor has he received royalties. Mr MacKie questions Clàr’s “independence”.
Clàr is its own master. It is not affiliated to any organisation. Like many publishers in Scotland, in addition to its own investment, Clàr applies to the Gaelic Books Council for modest assistance towards the costs of selected titles.
Several Clàr publications – Mingulay (2010) for example – have received no financial assistance.
Like Tim Armstrong, the volunteers of Clàr undertake many unpaid hours. Mr MacKie questions the commercial viability of “Gaelic sci-fi”. Sales of Tim’s book are strong.
Mr MacKie describes Tim Armstrong as having “picked up some Gaelic”.
Tim is a superb adult learner, of near-native standard. Mr MacKie is clearly surprised by the success of Tim Armstrong.
We have news for Mr MacKie. There is a new generation of Gaelic authors. Tim Armstrong and others will be writing in Gaelic for many years to come.