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Finlay J MacDonald (1926-1987)
Finlay J MacDonald (1926-1987)

Finlay J MacDonald was born and raised on Harris, in the Outer Hebrides. As a child he spoke only Gaelic while the village schoolteacher spoke only English. His account of pre-war life on Harris was later to be published, in English, in a trilogy of books: 'Crowdie and Cream' (1982); 'Crotal and White' (1983); and 'The Corncrake and the Lysander' (1985).

MacDonald went on to pursue a successful career as a radio drama and talks producer, before becoming a television producer. He was greatly influential in establishing Gaelic radio and television broadcasting and was the founder of the Gaelic Drama Association. He was the co-founder and co-editor (1952-1964) of 'Gairm', the quarterly Gaelic magazine which remained one of the most important outlets for the language until it ceased publication in 2004. He was also editor of the Portree school magazine, 'An Cabairneach'.

'Crowdie and Cream' - 'Gruth is Uachdar - was serialised in a BBC Scotland drama production in 2002, directed by Bill Macleod.

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Robert Ross - Isle of Barra, Western Isles
Finlay J MacDonald's autobiographical trilogy is a fantastic read. The only writing of its sort which compares is Maxim Gorky's 'My Childhood', 'My Apprenticeship', 'My Universities'. As a current school teacher on the Isle of Barra I can relate to a lot of the characters and incidents he describes and relates.
Patricia Thomson - Northern Ireland
I seem to recall having 'discovered' Finlay J MacDonald through radio broadcasts. I found an omnibus edition of Crowdie and Cream, Crotal and White and The Corncrake and the Lysander while on holiday in Sutherland some years ago. They are the most wonderful books - I'm currently re-reading them. What a wonderful, talented man he was.
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Martin Horan - Perthshire
I have just recently read Crowdie and Cream which a neighbour loaned to me. It is an astonishing read. I am ashamed to say that I didn't know any of Finlay J. Macdonald's work prior to this, as he is undoubtedly one of Scotland's greatest writers--many, if not most of whom I've read over my 62 years.

As an avid reader, I'm amazed that I haven't come over his books before. I think this has a lot to do with Scotland never pushing our great artists, writers and composers. Perhaps also, these days especially, it tends to be the talentless and the vulgar that grab all the headlines and notices.

I do hope that there is a revival of interest in Finlay J. Macdonald's writing. It certainly deserves to be up there among the great works of Scots literature.

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