Acair Ltd, a not-for-profit company run by a board, was established in 1976 to provide Gàidhlig language materials for the ground-breaking Bilingual Education Project in the Western Isles.
Since then our books have been (and continue to be) well-known in Gaelic Medium schools across Scotland. There aren't many children who passed through school without having the pleasure of reading about the famous adventures of SPÀGAN, illustrated by the wonderful Quentin Blake of Roald Dahl fame.
Outwith education, however, Acair have developed a long list of general interest books in Gaelic and English — even Scots! — which can be enjoyed by children and adults alike.
While a lot of the educational resources are now produced by Stòrlann, Acair’s core business is still Gaelic books. This ranges from producing new and original works of fiction to working with other well-known publishing houses to produce Gaelic versions of popular children's books.
Acair have an impressive back catalogue of both children’s and general interest titles — more than 500 titles have been published since we were set up. Many remain as popular as they were when they were first released and we have recently reprinted a number of them, such as CAILEAG and CHO MÒR ‘S A THA MO GHAOL ORT. Fo Sgàil A' Swastika (Under the Shadow of the Swastika) by Donald John MacDonald has been reprinted four times.
The list of our books is long but it is also distinguished. We were proud to publish Derrick McClure's Sangs tae Eimhir in 2011. Here, the Scots language expert translated Sorley MacLean's famous collection of Gaelic love songs, Dàin do Eimhir, into the country's other mother tongue and the two versions are presented beautifully together. We have many other bilingual books (though normally in Gaelic and English) on a variety of topics from original poetry and plays to local historical, as well as English-only books with a social and cultural relevance to this Highlands and Islands. We love nothing more than telling a good story and books such as Calum Ferguson's Casan Searraich (Sunbeams in Memory) do that very well.
As well as producing books independently, Acair’s Gaelic publication process is often assisted and encouraged by supporting agencies such as Bòrd na Gàidhlig and the Gaelic Books Council.
In 2011, we began a working partnership with Irish-Gaelige publishers Futa Fata. This allowed us to share our resources and experiences in minority-language publishing. The partnership is a fruitful one and has led to six books including CEITIDH CEARC, COCO AN T-IASG CÀIRDEIL and LACHAIDH AGUS AN OIDHCHE IARGALTA. Another successful partnership resulted in the first Gaelic speaking teddy, Bàbòg.
The company is based in the An Tosgan building on Seaforth Road, Stornoway, Isle of Lewis. If you wish to come and see our books first-hand, we will more than happy to welcome you during office hours. We are here Monday to Friday from 9am till 5pm.
Over the years we have published the work of many well-known writers, poets and academics, from Sorley Maclean and Iain Crichton Smith to Donald S Murray and Dr Finlay Macleod. But as well as preserving the work of those who have helped shape Scottish literature, we are always looking out for upcoming talent and are delighted to publish new Gaelic fiction as part of our Aiteal series. Authors and illustrators, who feel they fit the Acair remit, should feel free to submit their work for consideration.
Acair has always played an important role in developing and preserving the language and culture of this special part of the world. Acair manager Agnes Rennie said: "We are really keen to encourage new and established writers, writing in Gaelic and English, and welcome proposals for new books."