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Anne Lorne Gillies

Anne Lorne Gillies


Born: 1944 in Stirling
First Book: An Tàcharan, a Gaelic children’s novel published in the 1970s
Awards: Honorary doctorate from the University of Edinburgh, 1993; Winner of 2006 Ruth Michaelis-Jena Ratcliff Prize for Songs of Gaelic Scotland.

Anne Lorne Gillies, the granddaughter of the founder of the Scots League, William Gillies, was born in Stirling in 1944. She was raised on a croft in Argyll, in a house without plumbing or electricity but with plenty of musical zest. Growing up, Anne was surrounded by Gaelic culture and exposed to a thoroughly diverse range of musical styles, and, from the age of four, she was taught to play the piano by her grandmother.

She attended Oban High School, and during these early years she performed at concerts and shows around Argyll as a country dancer, pianist and singer. At the age of seventeen, Anne was awarded the Mòd Gold Medal for singing.

Shortly after this, Anne left Oban for the University of Edinburgh, where she studied Celtic and English. After graduating with an MA, she moved to London where she received her Post-graduate Certificate in Education from the University of London, and an IRAM for teaching singing from the Royal Academy of Music. When she returned to Scotland, she completed an additional teaching qualification at Strathclyde University, took a PhD in Gaelic Education from Glasgow University and in 1993 was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Edinburgh.

Her studies in Gaelic education have led to her appointments as patron of the Gaelic Playgroup Association and full-time national education officer of the Scottish Gaelic language development agency, Comann na Gàidhlig. As a key figure in education, a political activist and a parent, she is now devoted to the establishment of Gaelic-medium education and the rejuvenation of Scotland’s ancient language and culture. In partnership with her husband Kevin Bree, Anne also owns a multi-media publishing company, Brìgh Productions, which is dedicated to the production of Gaelic resources.

Anne’s music career has thrived for over thirty years. Her unique singing style combines classical music training with a deep understanding of Gaelic culture and tradition, and she has performed all over the world. She has also released several albums and has performed on radio and television.

Anne has also enjoyed a successful writing career, spanning the mediums of newspaper columns, children’s novels, short stories, scripts and screenplays. Her first novel for children was An Tàcharan, which was serialised for children’s television by BBC Scotland in the 1970s. In 1993, she published her autobiography, Song of Myself (Mainstream). Her most recent publication is Songs of Gaelic Scotland, a collection of her favourite Gaelic songs together with notes on the background of each. The book was published by Birlinn in 2005 and was winner of the 2006 Ruth Michaelis-Jena Ratcliff Prize in Folklore and Folklife.

Anne Lorne Gillies now lives in Ayrshire with her husband Kevin Bree.