Welcome to The Brilliant & Forever – a unique literary festival for a unique Scottish island.
This new novel by award-winning author, Kevin MacNeil, takes us to a surreal world where people live alongside talking alpacas, albeit uneasily.
The plot revolves around three island friends – two human, one alpaca (called Archie, since you ask) – who join the race to win the B&F, which offers glory and a much-desired publishing deal.
On an island where everyone is a writer, it is a prestigious prize. After a few scene-setting chapters, the bulk of the novel is taken up with the competition stories, each printed in their entirety which gives readers the chance to experience the contest as well as become judge.
MacNeil creates an odd hybrid of novel and short story collection – the way he manages to invest each tale with the individual character of each competitor is impressive.
But he also successfully explores themes including the nature of friendship and belonging, tensions in small communities between readers and visitors and the whole convention of literary prizes and writing.
His prose skips along in a light and humorous style, making the B&F an enjoyable, easy and memorable read.
Published by Polygon Books