An American poetess, Deborah Moffat, is the winner of this year’s MacDonald of Sleat poetry prize.  The competition which is run by Sabhal Mòr Ostaig was instituted by Sir Ian MacDonald of Sleat in memory of his daughter, Deborah, who died two years ago.
Deborah Moffatt, who was born in the US state of Vermont, came to Scotland in 1982.  and now lives in Kingsbarns in Fife. Her English poetry is published in several literary magazines including Agenda, Cyphers, Stand and The Warwick Review.  

She began writing poetry in Gaelic in 2013, after learning the language over a nine year period.  She won the Wigtown Prize in 2015 with the poem, “Lilidh sa’ Mhachair” and in 2016 with the poem, “Clann na Coille”, and her Gaelic poetry has been published in Northwords Now, Causeway/Cabhsair, Southlight, agus Poblachd nam Bàrd.  

Mark Wringe, a member of the literary panel judging the competition said: “All the poems were presented to us anonymously, so any of them could have been by a poet new to us.  But the feel and subject of An Seudar ’s an Giuthas (‘The Cedar and the Pine’) impressed us all for its originality and freshness. It has an appealing symmetry and a unity in its contrast.  The basis of the poem in Jewish culture is a welcome novelty in Gaelic writing and yet at the same time it is readily familiar, offering a resonance through a shared heritage.  We hope to hear more from this writer.”

The prizes were awarded by Sir Ian MacDonald at the Clan Donald Centre on Saturday 24 September. Sir Ian MacDonald commented: “’It is good that there has been an increase in the number of poems submitted to the competition this year and it is very exciting that an American lady has won. That will be of considerable interest to Clan Donald USA.”

Picture at top shows Mark Wringe, (second left) one of the judges speaking about the winning poem composed by Deborah Moffat, (first left).  Also in the picture are Professor Boyd Robertson, Principal of Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, Sir Ian MacDonald, Chair of Clan Donald Lands Trust and Jan Wallwork Clarke, CEO of Clan Donald Skye.

Duais Bàrdachd MhicDhòmhnaill Shlèite a’ dol gu bana-bhàrd Ameireaganach
B’ i bana-bhàrd Ameireaganach, Deborah Moffat, a bhuannaich a’ chiad duais ann am farpais bàrdachd MhicDhòmhnaill Shlèite na bliadhna seo. Chaidh an fharpais a tha air a ruith le Sabhal Mòr Ostaig a stèidheachadh leis an Ridire Iain MacDhòmhnaill Shlèite mar chuimhneachan air an nighinn aige, Deborah, a chaochail a’ bhòn-uiridh.

Rugadh Deborah Moffatt ann am Vermont anns na Stàitean Aonaichte, agus thàinig i a dh’Alba ann an 1982.  Tha i a’ fuireach a-nis ann an Kingsbarns ann am Fiobha.  Tha a bàrdachd ann am Beurla air fhoillseachadh ann an iomadh iris litreachais leithid  Agenda, Cyphers, Stand agus The Warwick Review.  

Thòisich i a’ sgrìobhadh bàrdachd ann an Gàidhlig ann an 2013, as dèidh dhi a bhith ag ionnsachadh na canain airson naoi bliadhna.  Choisinn i Duais Baile na h-Ùige ann an 2015 leis an dàn, “Lilidh sa Mhachair”, agus ann an 2016 leis an dàn, “Clann na Coille”, agus chaidh a bàrdachd sa Ghàidhlig fhoillseachadh ann an Northwords Now, Causeway/Cabhsair, Southlight, agus Poblachd nam Bàrd.    
Nochd an cruinneachadh bàrdachd aice, “FAR FROM HOME,” (Lapwing, Beul Feirste) ann an 2004, agus tha i ag obair a-nis air dà chruinneachadh ùr, fear ann am Beurla agus fear eile anns a’ Ghàidhlig. 

Thuirt aon de na britheamhan air an fharpais, Mark Wringe: “Chaidh gach dàn air ar beulaibh ‘gun urra’, is air an dòigh seo bha na sgrìobhaichean uile ‘ùr’ dhuinn.  Ach bha tarraing air leth ùr ann an An Seudar ’s an Giuthas a ghlac ar mac-meanmna.  Tha an dà chuid aonachd is ioma-sgaradh san dàn seo.  Tha an dualchas Iùdhach a tha mar bhonn dhan dàn aig a’ cheart àm ùr-nodha ann an Gàidhlig, ach air aithne dhuinn tron dualchas choitcheann chultarra a tha eadarainn.  Tha sinn a’ cur fàilte is furan air a’ ghuth ùr seo, agus tha sinn ag iarraidh tuilleadh”

Chaidh an duais a thoirt seachad le Sir Iain MacDhòmhnaill aig Ionad Chlann Dhòmhnaill Disathairne 24 Sultain. Thuirt Sir Iain : “Tha e math gun deach barrachd dhàn an cur a-steach airson na farpais am-bliadhna agus ‘s e fìor thoileachas at th’ ann gur e ban-Ameireaganach a bhuannaich.  Còrdaidh sin gu mòr ri Clann Dòmhnaill san Staitean.”

Anns an dealbh chithear Mark Wringe, (dàrna neach bhon taobh chlì) aon dhe na britheamhan a’ toirt beachd air an dàn a choisinn an duais agus a chaidh a sgrìobhadh le Deborah Moffat (chiad neach bhon taobh chlì).  Cuideachd san dealbh tha an t-Ollamh Boyd Robasdan, Prionnsapal, Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, an Ridire Iain MacDhòmhnaill, Cathraiche, Urras Fearainn Chlann Dòmhnaill agus Jan Wallwork Clarke, Ceannard Chlann Dòmhnaill an Eilein Sgitheanaaich.