Writer Norman Maclean



Norman Maclean is one of Gaeldom’s most famous and popular sons. In his life so far he has made his mark as a teacher, a piper, a stand-up comedian, and a writer – amongst other things. He has recently produced an autobiography in English entitled “The Leper’s Bell: the Autobiography of a Changeling”. Here he talks about creativity and values, and some of the issues he has had to deal with in his life.


Listen to what he has to say.

If you want to read what he’s saying click here for a transcript with optional linkage to online dictionaries.

Language exercises

When you think you understand the passage well enough you can move on to some self-marking exercises to check your grasp of vocabulary. Click on “index” to return to this page.



Development and Discussion

Can you describe your own thoughts about what you’ve seen and heard in this video? Here are some questions to start you thinking.

What do you think that creative writers and creative footballers have in common, and do you agree with Norman about their probable state of mind?
Norman is open about his weakness for alcohol. What kind of factors do you think might drive someone to substance abuse or addiction?
Do you agree with his comments about the pernicious effect of individualism and competitiveness? Why, or why not?

Possible activities:

1. Write a short piece about your own thoughts on creativity, or addiction. It could be a letter to a friend or relation, or a short article for a newspaper or magazine.
2. Discuss what you’ve learned in your class, or with friends or workmates.
3. E-mail your thoughts to other learners who have watched the same video. Start a discussion about some of the topics raised.

Finally, take a look at this clip in which Norman talks directly to the camera about the launch of his book.

What impression do you get of Norman Maclean, as a writer or entertainer? What is it about his presentation that most makes you want to buy his book?

(A wordlinked transcript is now available via this link.)

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