Marcas Mac an Tuairneir
Marcas Mac an Tuairneir (Mark Spencer Turner) writes poetry, prose, drama and journalism, in Gaelic and English, and splits his time between Edinburgh and his hometown of York. He was educated at the University of Aberdeen, graduating with MA Hons Gaelic and Hispanic Studies in 2008 and MLitt Irish and Scottish Literature in 2010. He later completed his MA Television Fiction Writing in 2012 at Glasgow Caledonian University, having received a full scholarship from MG Alba. He is currently a PhD Candidate in the department of Celtic and Scottish Studies, University of Edinburgh, where his thesis focuses on Gaelic poetry of the Twenty-first Century. He was research interests in the literatures of Scotland and Ireland, feminism, postcolonial and queer theory.
Marcas' début collection, Deò, was published in 2013 by Grace Note Publications. A second, Lus na Tùise, was published in 2016 as a pamphlet, Heelstergowdie, for Tapsalteerie's Biggin Brigsseries which contains translations to and from Scots and Gaelic alongside the much acclaimed poet Stuart A. Paterson is expected in 2018. He will shortly publish a third collection, Polaris (Bradan Press, 2018) and is currently working on a fourth, Guirmean.
Marcas' poetry has been published in various journals and short-listed for several poetry prizes including ' Duais Flíochta Dhúbhglas de hÍde' 'Comórtas Filóchta an Chornéil Eoghain Uí Néill' and ' Off the Stanza'. In 2014, he was awarded the Highland Literary Salon prize for poetry and both second and first place in the ' The Baker Prize' for Gaelic Literature. In 2015, he placed second in the national William Blake Poetry Prize, for his poetry in English and was a runner up in the Wigtown competition for Gaelic poetry. In the same year he was the winner of the Scottish Association of Writers' ' Write Up North!' poetry competition. He was runner up in the same Wigtown competition, again in 2016 and was named the winner of the competition in 2017, with his poem 'Oràn na Cille' ('Arrane ny Killey' / 'Cellsong').
Marcas is an award-winning Gaelic-language playwright having won An Comunn Gàidhealach's 'Stornoway Gazette Trophy' for new Gaelic plays two years running. 'Tilleadh' and 'Tioradh' were first developed at two successful week-long residential courses, organised by National Theatre Scotland and Pròiseact nan Ealan for Gaelic dramatists, under the tutelage of Iain Finlay MacLeod and Frances Poet. 'Tioradh,' was completed under the mentorship of Alison Lang as Comhairle nan Leabhraichean and Playwright's Studios New Gaelic Playwright Award in 2016.
Marcas was the recipient of the full MG Alba scholarship in 2011 with which he completed his MA in Televesion Fiction Writing at Glasgow Caledonian University. He regularly appears on BBC Alba and Radio nan Gàidheal. His work for television includes BBC Alba's Ceitidh Mòrag drama series, for children.
His début novel will be published by Acair, as part of their successful Aiteal series in 2018.
As and academic and arts critic, he is a regular contributor to Dàna, Cothrom Ùr and Bella Caledonia and he is the Gaelic Editor of one of Scotland's most exciting poetry periodicals, The Poet's Republic.
As a singer and song-writer, he is a member of the award-winning Inverness Gaelic Choir and the Gaelic male-vocal ensemble Trosg, with whom he has performed throughout Scotland and at Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival, Celtic Connections. He made his directorial debut in 2016, writing, curating and directing Trosg's multi-genre performance, Diuchdadh, for Eden Court. The performance included a brand new micro-play, a two-hander written in Gaelic verse, and musical performances from Trosg, Siaban, Marloch, Saffron Hanvidge, Mary Ann Kennedy, Eilidh MacKenzie and the late Maggie MacDonald.
Marcas has written songs with some of the finest musical talent in Gaeldom, including Gillie MacKenzie and Malina MacDonald. Alongside Mary Ann Kennedy he co-wrote Ainneamhag, a brand new choral composition written for Inverness Gaelic Choir and the 2016 Royal National Mòd. Marcas and Mary Ann's song Grioglachan, a tribute to the late Maggie MacDonald, was included on Mary Ann's Blas Festival Commission Beul na h-Oidhche gu Camhanach and latter on her album An Dàn, album (Watercolour Music, 2016) and was the Scottish entry to the Liet International Song Competition, which took place in Kautokeino, Norwegian Samiland, in 2016. Alongside Mary Ann and her husband and music partner Nick Turner, Marcas is set to release his début solo album, 'Sràdag', (Watercolour Music, 2018) a contemporary collection of new Gaelic songs, ground-breaking in its use of pop and electronic genres. He was a Royal National Mòd Gold Medal finalist (2016).