Commissioned writer Mairi Macleod at Saari Residence

Mairi Macleod (b.1996) is a Gaelic writer from Glasgow, Scotland. A graduate of the University of Glasgow, she completed an undergraduate degree in Geography and a master’s degree in Earth Futures. Her creative work echoes her academic interests, critically engaging with humanity’s relationships with space, place, and the complex thing we call ‘nature’. As a young woman writing in a minority language, she wants to contribute not just to the survival of her language, but to its blossoming and evolution in different spaces.

In 2023, NAARCA commissioned a short piece of fiction in Scottish Gaelic that will be translated in English. Additionally, Mairi was granted an 8-week, fully funded residency at Saari Residence which included slow travel support from Scotland to Finland.

During my time at Saari, I will be working on short fiction as part of the Nordic Alliance of Artists’ Residencies on Climate Action (NAARCA)’s exchange programme. In particular, I will work on fiction that weaves the critical exploration of environmental issues with intersectional feminist themes. At the centre of this work will be embodiment, belonging, and human-animal relations. Writing in my native language of Scottish Gaelic, I will also explore how the survival of minority languages intersects with the survival of “wild” spaces and landscapes. One of the short stories I will write is entitled Cur Na Mara (Seasickness) and will reimagine the story of the selkie wife (a well-known folk tale in Celtic and Nordic folklore) in the contemporary context of changing coastal and marine environments.

My time at Saari will be an opportunity to encounter a new environment, develop my creative voice, and consider my place in the ever-changing world we are living in. Above all, though, it will be a chance to exchange ideas with creatives from different disciplines and backgrounds, and learn about the lived experiences of others.

Featured Image: Mairi Macleod at Saari Residence in Hietamäki, Finland; Photography by Jussi Virkkumaa

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