William Neill was born in Prestwick, Ayrshire in 1922. He joined the RAF on leaving school, and having seen many parts of the world, left the forces in the 1960s, and studied Celtic literatures as a mature student at the University of Edinburgh. He then taught English in Galloway, before retiring to the village of Crossmichael.
His first collection of poems was published when he was in his fifties; Selected Poems 1969-1992 was issued by Canongate in 1994, and Caledonian Cramboclink by Luath Press in 2002. William Neill’s impressive body of work includes translations from various European languages, often exploring other ‘minority’ European languages and attitudes to them. He saw his poetry – in Scots, Gaelic and English – as ‘a standing up for the small tongues against the big mouths’.