taking our culture forward
Dr Brian Stowell


The 2008 recipient of the Reih Bleeaney Vanannan, Culture Vannin’s prestigious cultural award, was retired teacher and broadcaster Dr Brian Stowell. The award was presented by Culture Vannin’s (now former) Chairman, the Hon Anne Craine MHK, in the Millennium Room at Legislative Buildings.

Brian Stowell was born in Douglas in 1936. He was educated at Murray's Road School, Douglas High School, and Liverpool University where he gained a BSc (Hons) degree in physics in 1958. He worked as a physicist in England before gaining a doctorate in applied physics and becoming a lecturer at Liverpool John Moore University.

In 1991 Brian returned home to the Isle of Man to take up the newly created post of Manx Language Officer with the Department of Education. Before leaving the Island to go to University Brian had learned Manx by going round with a group who were making sound recordings of the last old native speakers.

After retiring from the Department he continued to be active in the Manx Gaelic revival through his teaching and writing. Brian has a weekly programme on Manx Radio that explores a wide range of Manx subjects, and he is a diligent translator of Manx material: producing and publishing articles, books, and courses. His contribution to the teaching of Manx is both important and unrivalled.

Brian received the Reih Bleeaney Vanannan award after being nominated by members of the public. Mrs Craine said that the award was a richly deserved honour for someone who had contributed so much to the cultural life of the Isle of Man. Brian was asked to name a local Manx cause to which a donation of £500 would be made by Culture Vannin, and he chose the Manx language education charity, Mooinjer Veggey, who run the Bunscoill in St John’s.