Gaelic Literature  of the Isle of Skye: an annotated  bibliography   


Non-traditional creative prose: Eilidh Watt







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WATT, Eilidh  (1908 – c. 1996)


Eilidh Watt was born in Skye in 1908.  She attended Portree High School and Glasgow University, and then taught English for several years in Harris, Portree and Fife.  Upon her retirement she returned to her native Skye and remained there until her death c. 1996.


Eilidh first began to write stories for radio about 1950 and her published output must surely rank her as one of the most prolific of modern Gaelic short story writers.  She also published several non-fiction items.  Of these, those relevant to Skye are listed in the section for journalism and miscellaneous prose.


In a revealing article published in Facal air an Fhacal 2 (An t-Earrach 1984: 44-46), Eilidh Watt discusses her development as a writer and why she prefers the short story format to that of the novel.  Three factors relevant to her writing emerge: from an early age she had a vivid imagination; she was influenced by her father, a traditional story teller, and her early years writing for radio were crucial to the development of her writing style.


A high proportion of Eilidh Watt’s stories have a Gaidhealtachd setting, but these are frequently interchangeable with non-Gaidhealtachd settings.  Her variety of subjects testifies to her imagination and the range of her interests.  Her themes range from the happily ending family story of ‘Dìleas’, through the

black comedy of ‘Cha B’ann Mar Seo a Bha Iad air T-BH’, to the aftermath of disaster in ‘An Déidh-Làimh’.  She can be very moving, as in ‘An Reic’, in which a cowed and pathetic tinker’s son is allowed one brief moment of joy.  Her interest in puzzle solving provides much entertainment, as in ‘Mur B’e’, when a naïve innocent is tricked into a situation where he is accused of murder.  The technique, learnt during her early years as a writer for radio, of paring everything down to the bare bones has stood her in good stead.  Sometimes, as with the infanticide in ‘Da Iomhaigh’, her writing tends too much towards the melodramatic, but she is a born storyteller and her stories are rarely less than entertaining





i     Eilidh Watt.  A’ Bhratach Dhealrach.  Inbhirnis: Club Leabhar, 1972.  127d.


Eight stories for young people: ‘A’ Bhratach Dhealrach’, pp. 7-22;   ‘N h-Uird Mhóra’, pp. 23-41;  Litir an Lagha’, pp. 42-50;  ‘Ach ‘na Dhùthaich Fhéin’, pp. 51-63;  Bha Duilleagan air Chall’, pp. 64-76;   Adhaircean Mhóra’, pp. 77-93;  ‘An Neochiontach’, pp. 94-117;  Snathad Bheag an Uair Sin Snathad Mhór’, pp. 118-127.


ii    Eilidh Watt.  Latha a’ Choin Duibh agus Ipilidh.  Inbhirnis: Club Leabhar, 1972.  47d: dealbhan.


Two stories for children: ‘Latha a’ Choin Duibh’, pp. 1-35;  Ipilidh, pp. 37-47.


iii   Eilidh Watt.  Gun Fhois.  Dun Eideann: Macdonald, 1987.  112d.


This is a collection of twelve stories, all of which are concerned in some way with the phenomenon of second sight, an dà-shealladh.  I have not had sight of this book.  In his review (Gairm 141:89-90), Ruaraidh MacThòmais writes that in his view the stories which are most effective are those in which the workings of the human mind, rather than the second sight, predominate.  Eilidh Watt’s interest in the supernatural is a recurring theme in her writing, both fiction and non-fiction.  For examples of the latter, see Gairm  (75:254-258; 87:233-236; 94:123-127).






i    Coinneach D. MacDhomhnaill (deas.).  Briseadh na Cloiche, agus sgeulachdan eile.  Glaschu: Roinn nan Cànan Ceilteach, Oilthigh Ghlaschu., 1970.


Eilidh Watt.  An t-Ogha’, 77-81.  A Highland woman meets for the first time her half-Indian grandson.


ii    Donnchadh MacGuaire (deas.).  Mu ‘n cuairt an Cagailte.  Inbhirnis: Club Leabhar, 1972.


Eilidh Watt.  An Reic’, pp. 57-63.  A moving story of a tinker’s son: mocked and ill-treated and who knows one brief moment of joy before he is finally crushed.


Eilidh Watt. ‘Alasdair Dubh Domhnallach’, pp. 73-79.  On the eternal triangle, with a twist in the tail.


iii   Amannan : Sgialachdan Goirid.  [Duneidinn]: U & R Chambers, 1979.


Eilidh Watt.  ‘Teine a Loisgeas’, pp. 17-27.  


Eilidh Watt.  ‘An t-As-Creidhmeach’, pp. 95-100






75 (An Samhradh 1971).  ‘A’ Bhàs’, pp. 217-220. 

A story of the supernatural.


78 (An t-Earrach 1972).  ‘Aon Fhacal anns an Dus’, pp. 111-116.


79 (An Samhradh 1972).  An Duine Cumanta’, pp. 205-209.


80 (Am Foghar 1972).  An Tàcharan’, pp. 335-340.


82 (An t-Earrach 1973).  An Còta’, pp. 123-126.


83 (An Samhradh 1973).  An Comharradh’, pp. 213-214.


84 (Am Foghar 1973).  Sgiathan an Dealain-Dé’, pp. 313-318.


85 (An Geamhradh 1973).  Solus’, pp. 60-63. 

A surrealist story.


86 (An t-Earrach 1974).  Anns a’ Cheann Thall’, pp. 159-162. 

A supernatural tale.


88 (Am Foghar 1974).  ‘An Iobairt’, pp. 353-357. 

A wartime story.


89 (An Geamhradh 1974-75).  Bannan’, pp. 13-18.


90 (An t-Earrach 1975).  Calman Geal’, pp. 155-160.


93 (An Geamhradh 1975-76).  An Cumhnant’, pp. 11-16. 

A tale of the supernatural.


95 (An Samhradh 1976).  An Té-Leasachaidh’, pp. 239-242.


96 (Am Foghar 1976).  ‘Far-Ainm’, pp. 310-314.


99 (An Samhradh 1977).  Curstaidh’, pp. 257-261. 

A story of family conflict.


101 (An Geamhradh 1977-78).  Buadhach is Sgriost’, pp. 23-26. 

A chilling tale of marital discord


103 (An Samhradh 1978).  Ribeannan Dearga’, pp. 275-276. 

A gripping murder story.


106 (An t-Earrach 1979).   Sligean Falamh’, pp. 121-125. 

A retrospective tale of love and loss.


108 (Am Foghar 1979).  Seonaidh na Theinn’, pp. 333-338.


110 (An t-Earrach 1980).  Iomhaigh’, pp. 176-180. 

A gothic tale of infanticide.


111/112 (Samhradh / Foghar 1980).  Sinne na Fir a-Nis’, pp. 280-284.


114 (An t-Earrach 1981).  Lorgaidh an Uair an Duine’, pp. 136-138. 

About the death of an old soldier.


115 (An Samhradh 1981).  Dìleas’, pp. 249-254. 

Tale of a family crisis with a happy ending.


116 (Am Foghar 1981).  Duine Beag is Duine Mór’, pp. 308-313. 

A bitter sweet love story.


117 (An Geamhradh 1981-82).  ‘Cha B’ann Mar Seo a Bha Iad air T BH’,

pp. 41-44.

A blackly comic murder story.


118 (An t-Earrach 1982).  Puraraich Cait’, pp. 130-134.


119 (An Samhradh 1982).  An Ceathramh Fear’, pp. 219-223.


120 (Am Foghar 1982).  Mur B’e’, pp. 337-341. 

How an innocent man in tricked into a situation where he is accused

of murder.


121 (An Geamhradh 1982-83).  An Déidh-Làimh’, pp. 33-37. 

An after-the-disaster story.


122 (An t-Earrach 1983).  ‘A’ Tighinn gu Cala’, pp. 111-116. 

A modern love story.


123 (An Samhradh 1983).  Roghainn’, pp. 232-236. 

A modern love story.


125 (An Geamhradh 1983-84).  ‘Na Màthraichean’, pp. 61-65. 

Love and marriage in different generations.


126 (An t-Earrach 1984).  ‘Car Eile ‘n Adhairc an Daimh’, pp. 159-163.


128 (Am Foghar 1984).  An Seot’, pp. 354-358. 

How a ghost from a man’s past is laid to rest.


129 (An Geamhradh 1984-85).  ‘Cha Chreach Thu Nead Na Smeòraich’,

pp. 28-32.


132 (Am Foghar 1985).  Ainm a’ Chiad Ghille’, pp. 335-338.

 A love story.


133 (An Geamhradh 1985-86).  Crìochan’, pp. 47-52.


135 (An Samhradh 1986).  Bràithrean’, pp. 248-255


141 (An Geamhradh 1987/88).  Seumas’,  pp. 71-86


143 (An Samhradh 1988).  Roghainn’, pp. 260-263.


146 (An t-Earrach 1989).  An Neo-dhàimheil’, pp. 124-127.


151 (An Samhradh 1990).  Mordo Beag’, pp. 270-275.


153 (An Geamhradh 1990-91).  Seann Cleasan is Cleasan Ura’, pp. 19-22


158 (An t-Earrach 1992).  Duilleag air a Sèideadh Leis a’ Ghaoith’,

pp. 141-147.


164 (Am Foghar 1993).  ‘Is Toigh Leis an Fheannaig’, pp. 319-322.


170 (An t-Earrach 1995).  ‘An Spìonadair’, pp. 183-185



















Single items




An Cabairneach


Tormod Domhnallach I

Tormod Domhnallach II

Anna Ghreum

Gilleasbuig Aotrom

Iain MacAonghais

Aonghas Mac a’ Phi

Domhnall MacCuithein

J. G. MacKay

Hugh MacKinnon

Calum I. MacLean

Kenneth MacLeod

Niall MacLeòid

Alasdair MacNeacail

Eoghainn MacRath

Somhairle Thorburn




A-C,  An Cabairneach,

D-M,  N-Z,

Eilidh Watt


Journalism and


A-MacF,   MacG-Z













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