Ossian: Warrior Poet

The poems of Ossian are the sagas of Scotland’s ancient past: tales of battles, unrequited love, betrayal, tragic loss and glorious victory.

Eileen Budd has created a new illustrated edition, rekindling these stories for a new generation. 

After an epic and successful Kickstarter campaign, Ossian: Warrior Poet will be published in Autumn 2021.

Pre-order the book

Kickstarter FAQs

Information for booksellers and press

The Poems of Ossian

Ossian’s poems recount the life of Fingal, a warrior chief among chiefs in 3rd century Scotland. This was the time when the Romans had occupied Britain, and tried and failed to conquer the people in the north. This was a time of rich religion, legendary battles and strong characters who changed the course of history.

James Macpherson first published his Poems of Ossian in the late 1700s, crafting a singular narrative from collected fragments of oral storytelling, folklore and deep cultural memory that survived in the Gaelic tongue.

Many at the time doubted the text’s authenticity, claiming that the ancient Scots were too savage to have woven such beautiful stories. Yet Ossian was embraced by artists and writers, and became central to ideas of Scottish nationhood and culture.

It is now time to rediscover Ossian!

Ossian Lights the Flame

A new edition for a new generation

Ossian’s epic tales will be brought to life with inspiring pictures, detailed maps and fresh narration – helping new readers to navigate the world of the ancient Caledonian Forest, and follow Fingal’s journeys across the sea to Iceland, Ireland and beyond.

Our new edition of Ossian is based on Macpherson’s 1773 edition of the text, plus lots of new additions:

  • Full-page illustrations of key moments in the story, bursting with colour, life and detail. These new illustrations are based on years of deep research into the archeological, linguistic and geological records.
  • A fresh introduction and commentary for each chapter to help summarise and explain the action.
  • Hand drawn maps, showing the locations and routes of the poems, based on cartographic research.
  • Family trees for the main characters, setting out their inter-connections.
  • An index of hundreds of characters and locations, to help readers keep track!

The book will be a full colour high quality glossy softback edition, of around 300 pages. Ossian: Warrior Poet will be produced, designed and printed in Scotland, and published in summer 2021.

About the author

Eileen Budd | Illustrator and editor of Ossian: Warrior Poet

“I first read the Poems of Ossian as a young teenager and ever since then they have lingered in my imagination. Growing up in the rolling hills of Perthshire, I imagined these warriors racing across the land and raising the stones for long-forgotten heroes fallen in war. The battles were epic and the language so lyrically linked with the natural landscape of Scotland it felt like discovering a portal into our country’s ancient past.

The poems correlate with historical events during the Roman occupation of the UK, showing the Caledonians to be far more civilised than the image painted by Roman historians. Yet it is the Roman accounts which continue to be used as a basis for learning about our ancient past. I want these stories to be known by a new generation because they are so important to the history and culture of Scotland.

However they originated, the main thing is that these stories are given a future, because they are dramatic, intense and bold tales of conflict, heroism and survival.

Eileen Budd is a fine artist and illustrator. Over the last 20 years her artwork has been shown in galleries, publications and private collections across the globe. Her interest in interdisciplinary, collaborative, creative and practice-based research has led her to work as a rescue scuba diver in Tasmania, Papua New Guinea and Australia, a shark tagger in Fiji and a cowgirl in the Australian Outback – experiences which have been major influences on her work as an artist. Eileen now lives in a restored cottage in Angus, with her partner and collaborator Max Cant and their son.

Max Cant, project art director

Max Cant | Project art director

Maxwell Cant is a classically trained illustrator and digital artist, with over 25 years of commercial experience and a deep passion for Scottish history. He grew up listening to the tales of Scotland’s martial history and is now living in the shadow of a pictish hillfort in the Highlands. His career has spanned fine art, academia and the entertainment industry, which gives him an ideal perspective to tackle a project such as this.

Kickstarter Campaign

Ossian: Warrior Poet has been initially funded by a successful Kickstarter campaign in November – December 2020. Over 150 backers supported the project to make the book a reality.

Backer FAQs

When is the launch and how do I participate?
All backers are invited to join us for a live online book launch in November 2021. There will be live performances from Whiskey Mick and Clanadonia, and a Q&A with the creative team behind Ossian: Warrior Poet.
Your invitation will include a form to RSVP and submit questions for the live Q&A at the event.

An link to stream the launch event will be sent by email to all kickstarter backers a month before the event. If you haven’t heard by 30 September 2021, please email us to get on the guest list.

How can I back the kickstarter campaign?
The fundraising campaign finished on 15 December 2020, but you can pre-order the book from our online shop.

When will my kickstarter rewards arrive?
We will send the rewards at the same time as the book, after publication in November 2021. Keep an eye out for an email notification when your rewards have shipped.

How can I get more prints / postcards / badges / other awesome merch?
Extra Ossian merch will be available to buy from our online shop as soon as they are produced. Note that postage costs and delivery times for these purchases will be managed separately from your Kickstarter rewards.

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