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The Leper's Bell
eBook only

Publication Date
25 March 2010
Available as an eBook only
Available for Sale
Birlinn Limited

The Leper's Bell

Autobiography of a Changeling
by Norman MacLean - Find out more about the author


eBook also available at the iBookstore

The Billy Connolly of the Gàidhealtachd’ – Calum Macdonald, Runrig

'Read this book. It’s good. It’s a success story even though the author doesn’t admit it' – Ronnie Black, The Scotsman

Utterly compelling’ – BBC Radio Scotland

’It is a rewarding, if sometimes harrowing journey for the reader as Maclean wrestles with his demons and his identity amid “cultural schizophrenia”. One is left feeling a deal of sympathy for this most talented, fascinating and charismatic man; lamenting the waste of it all’ - Sunday Herald

A comedian, singer, composer, musician, linguist, actor, author and a favourite of Sean Connery and Billy Connolly’s, Norman MacLean is a living legend in the Gaelic world and a household name across the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. Yet for all his creative genius Norman MacLean is virtually anonymous outside this ribbon of northern Scotland. His career has been etched with enormous highs and lows – a reflection of the turmoil of his private life, where a lifelong battle with alcohol has had a crippling effect on everything that he has touched, and which has arguably prevented him from achieving the global recognition that his undoubted talent so merited.

In The Leper’s Bell, an erudite, analytical and frank autobiography of this wonderful, unique, but ultimately little-known star, Norman MacLean reveals the man behind the comedy and the crippling horrors of alcoholism. It is in turns tragic and uplifting, devastating and hilarious, elegant and heartbreaking, and one of the most compelling and moving memoirs to appear in recent years.

Born in 1936, Norman Maclean was educated at school and university in Glasgow, before going on to teach all over the country. He garnered much fame after winning two Gold Medals at the National Mod – for poetry and singing – in the same year, 1967, the only person ever to do so. Shortly afterwards he began a career, as he would say himself, as a clown, and it is in that role, and that of a musician, that he is still best-known today.