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Saltire Society Scottish Book of the Year Award

The Saltire Society Scottish Book of the Year Award £5000 and Salitire Society/ Royal Scottish Mail Scottish First Book of the Year Award £1500 (by an author who has not previously published a book) may be given for any book by an author or authors of Scottish descent or living in Scotland, or for any book which deals with the work or life of a Scot or with a Scottish question, event or situation. The book might be poetry, a novel, a play or other work of imaginative literature, or biography, literary criticism or a study of any Scottish issue. Books of multiple authorship would not normally qualify.

2009 Winner Saltire Society Scottish Book of the Year Award

Dec 1- A biography of Robert Burns, The Bard by Robert Crawford, has won the £10,000 book of the year prize at the 2009 Saltire Society Literary Awards. He was up against stiff competition from authors AL Kennedy and Janice Galloway.

Other awards went to a history of Scottish philosophy, a biography of John Muir and the Historical Thesaurus of the English dictionary.

Literay Awards No writer is more charismatic than Robert Burns. Wonderfully readable, The Bard catches Burns's energy, brilliance, and radicalism as never before. To his international admirers he was a genius, a hero, a warm-hearted friend; yet to the mother of one of his lovers he was a wastrel, to a fellow poet he was 'sprung . from raking of dung', and to his political enemies a 'traitor'. Drawing on a surprising variety of untapped sources - from rediscovered poetry by Burns to manuscript journals, correspondence, interviews and oratory by his contemporaries - this new biography presents the remarkable life, loves, and struggles of the great poet. Inspired by the American and French Revolutions and moulded by the Scottish Enlightenment, Burns was in several senses the first of the great Romantics. With a poet's insight and a shrewd sense of human drama, Robert Crawford outlines how Burns combined a childhood steeped in the peasant song-culture of rural Scotland with a consummate linguistic artistry to become not only the world's most popular love poet but also the controversial master poet of modern democracy.Written with accessible 'lan and nuanced attention to Burns's poems and letters, The Bard is the story of an extraordinary man fighting to maintain a sly sense of integrity in the face of overwhelming pressures. This incisive biography startlingly demonstrates why the life and work of Scotland's greatest poet still compel the attention of the world a quarter of a millennium after his birth.


The Tin Kin by Eleanor Thorn

Literay Awards
When her aunt Shirley dies, Dawn finds herself back in her claustrophobic home town in Northern Scotland for the first time in years. She spends her days caring for her small daughter, listening to tapes of old country songs and cleaning Shirley s flat, until one day she comes across the key to a cupboard that she was forbidden to open as a child. Inside she finds an album of photographs, curling with age. A young couple pose on a beach, arms wrapped around each other; little girls in hand-me-down kilts reveal toothless smiles; an old woman rests her hands on her hips, her head thrown back in blurry laughter. But why has her aunt treasured these pictures secretly for so long? Dawn's need for answers leads her to a group of Travellers on the outskirts of Elgin. There she learns of a young man left to die on the floor of a cell, and realises that the story of her family is about to be rewritten... Weaving between narratives and decades, 'The Tin Kin' is a beautiful moving novel about love, hardship and the lies and legends that pass between generations. It is a striking, unforgettable debut.


A Passion for Nature by John Muir
Literay Awards
"I am hopelessly and forever a mountaineer," John Muir wrote. "Civilization and fever and all the morbidness that has been hooted at me has not dimmed my glacial eye, and I care to live only to entice people to look at Nature's loveliness. My own special self is nothing." In Donald Worster's magisterial biography, John Muir's "special self" is fully explored as is his extraordinary ability, then and now, to get others to see the sacred beauty of the natural world. A Passion for Nature is the most complete account of the great conservationist and founder of the Sierra Club ever written. It is the first to be based on Muir's full private correspondence and to meet modern scholarly standards. Yet it is also full of rich detail and personal anecdote, uncovering the complex inner life behind the legend of the solitary mountain man. It traces Muir from his boyhood in Scotland and frontier Wisconsin to his adult life in California right after the Civil War up to his death on the eve of World War I. It explores his marriage and family life, his relationship with his abusive father, his many friendships with the humble and famous (including Theodore Roosevelt and Ralph Waldo Emerson), and his role in founding the modern American conservation movement. Inspired by Muir's passion for the wilderness, Americans created a long and stunning list of national parks and wilderness areas, Yosemite most prominent among them. Yet the book also describes a Muir who was a successful fruit-grower, a talented scientist and world-traveler, a doting father and husband, a self-made man of wealth and political influence. A man for whom mountaineering was "a pathway to revelation and worship." For anyone wishing to more fully understand America's first great environmentalist, and the enormous influence he still exerts today, Donald Worster's biography offers a wealth of insight into the passionate nature of a man whose passion for nature remains unsurpassed.



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2008 Saltire Scottish Book of the Year Winner

29th November 2008, The author James Kelman, Scotland's only Booker Prize winner, has won the £5,000 Book of the Year Prize for his novel Kieron Smith, Boy.

Ian Duncan won the National Library of Scotland research prize for Scott's Shadow. The history award went to Alex Woolf for From Pictland to Alba.

The Royal Mail First Book prize went to Andrew Nicoll for The Good Mayor. He dedicated his award to a reviewer who had attacked the book's "banal stereotypes" and "burden of cliché"..

In welcome news the prize, which was in danger of going under due to a lack of a sponsor for 2009, has been rescued by the Government. Linda Fabiani, the culture minister, announced the Scottish Government backing as part of the Homecoming Year 2009 celebrations of Robert Burns's 250th anniversary. Catherine Lockerbie, director of the Edinburgh International Book Festival, welcomed the "interesting and unusual move". The judging system of a secret ballot would ensure the prize's independence, she said.

2008 Winner Saltire Society Scottish Book of the Year Award

Kieron Smith, Boy

James Kelman
ISBN10: 0241142415  ISBN13: 9780241142417  
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd Hamish Hamilton Ltd

The most emotionally resonant novel to date from ‘the greatest British novelist of our time’ (Sunday Herald)

Rejected by his brother and largely ignored by his parents, Kieron Smith finds comfort – and endless stories – in the home of his much-loved grandparents. But when his family move to a new housing scheme on the outskirts of the city, a world away from the close community of the tenements, Kieron struggles to find a way to adapt to his new life. In his brilliantly evoked post-war Glasgow, Kelman depicts the city during a period of profound social change, with flourishing sectarianism, yet high hopes for the future. And in his central character, he creates a universal portrayal of the unique obsessions of childhood, whether fishing, climbing, books, brothers, dogs, ghosts, faces or souls... Warm, funny, with searing insight and astonishing empathy, in Kieron Smith, James Kelman has created an unforgettable boy.

About the Author
James Kelman was born in Glasgow in 1946. His books include Greyhound for Breakfast, A Disaffection, which won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize, and How Late it Was, How Late, which won the 1994 Booker Prize. His more recent novels are Translated Accounts and You Have to be Careful in the Land of the Free

A child's vision of his rough-and-tumble world occupies the latest from Scottish author Kelman (You Have to Be Careful in the Land of the Free, 2004, etc.).For Kieron, it's all a matter of size. There are big boys and wee boys, and Kieron is a wee boy. Later, other distinctions emerge. In his native Glasgow, there are Papes (Catholics) and Proddies (Protestants). Members of the rival religions lead separate lives, though Kieron (a Protestant) has a few Catholic friends. He tells his story pell-mell; the syntax is disjointed; dialect words add flavor to his rambling account. Kieron lives in cramped quarters with his mother and unfriendly big brother Matt (size again). Tensions mount when his grumpy father leaves the Merchant Marine to take a factory job. Kieron finds more love at his grandparents' place. There are soccer games with his pals, but best of all is climbing: walls, trees and drainpipes (his specialty). The joy of physical exertion saves him from an otherwise dreary childhood of petty restrictions. Kelman doesn't supply a plot and leaves characterization fuzzy, but he captures Kieron's consciousness and character formation as he interprets the world and argues with himself. This inner dialogue is often circular and tedious, but there is one moment, after Kieron experiences the death of a loved one, when he lets rip in a fine transcendent passage that marks him as a young fatalist. He turns 12 and goes to a new school, which he hates (all that homework), slipping into truancy as he gets a small job making deliveries. He dreams of running away with his best friend Mitch, a freeloader who steals from his folks, and finds relief in swearing (formerly taboo). He's at the threshold of sexual adventure, but he seems headed for a bleak future in the underclass.Though it's a vivid reminder that childhood is a foreign country, the book is way too long and self-indulgent. (Kirkus Reviews)

The Herald
Kelman brings to this story every ounce of skill honed over the span of a remarkable career to create a novel which, as powerfully as Huckleberry Finn or Catcher in the Rye, gets inside the mind of a youngster and allows the reader to see and taste the world truly at his eye level...this novel is a tour de force of narrative authenticity, of art conjuring up life so vividly it is alarmingly akin to first-hand experience. It is not only a sensational portrait of boyhood but a tribute to the courage and wits it takes to be a child."

Sunday Herald
"Undoubtedly, the Scottish book of the year will mark the return of James Kelman"
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2008 Winner Salitire Society/ Royal Scottish Mail Scottish First Book of the Year Award

The Good Mayor

Andrew Nicoll
ISBN10: 1845021924  ISBN13: 9781845021924  
Publisher: Black and White Publishing
Format: Paperback

An extraordinary achievement. I think it a seriously original and profoundly creative piece of literature. --Robert McNeil, The Scotsman

The Good Mayor is a magical debut novel. It is a love story and a story about lov. Set in the little town of Dot in a forgotten part of the Baltic, it tells the story of Tibo Krovic, the good and honest Mayor of Dot, and his love for his secretary, the beautiful, lonely, but married, Mrs Agathe Stopak. In the quiet, respectable town of Dot there is nothing that Tibo can do about his love for Mrs Stopak but, one day, when she accidentally drops her lunch into a fountain, everything changes and their lives will never be the same again. The Good Mayor is a story of love, loss, magic, friendship, wonderful food, a brass band, an Italian witch, a large lawyer, an occasional dog and a car chase at walking pace. Beautifully written, this is one of the finest debut novels in years. Read The Good Mayor and fall in love again.

About the Author
After a brief stint as a lumberjack, Andrew Nicoll has spent his working life as a journalist. He has had short stories published in New Writing Scotland and other magazines. He is 45 years old and married with three children.

A triumph of tone, very moving, completely convincing. --Andrew Marr

One of the best books I have ever read - it had a humour and lightness of touch that hooked me from the first page to the last. --Kate Devlin, Daily Telegraph

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2008 Winner National Library of Scotland Research Prize

Scott's Shadow.

Ian Duncan
ISBN10: 0691043833  ISBN13: 9780691043838  
Publisher: University Presses of California, Columbia and Princeton Princeton University Press

Scott's Shadow is the first comprehensive account of the flowering of Scottish fiction between 1802 and 1832, when post-Enlightenment Edinburgh rivaled London as a center for literary and cultural innovation. Ian Duncan shows how Walter Scott became the central figure in these developments, and how he helped redefine the novel as the principal modern genre for the representation of national historical life.

Duncan traces the rise of a cultural nationalist ideology and the ascendancy of Scott's Waverley novels in the years after Waterloo. He argues that the key to Scott's achievement and its unprecedented impact was the actualization of a realist aesthetic of fiction, one that offered a socializing model of the imagination as first theorized by Scottish philosopher and historian David Hume. This aesthetic, Duncan contends, provides a powerful novelistic alternative to the Kantian-Coleridgean account of the imagination that has been taken as normative for British Romanticism since the early twentieth century. Duncan goes on to examine in detail how other Scottish writers inspired by Scott's innovations--James Hogg and John Galt in particular--produced in their own novels and tales rival accounts of regional, national, and imperial history.

Scott's Shadow illuminates a major but neglected episode of British Romanticism as well as a pivotal moment in the history and development of the novel.

About the Author
Ian Duncan is professor of English at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of "Modern Romance and Transformations of the Novel" and the coeditor of "Scotland and the Borders of Romanticism".

A compelling account of Scottish fiction between 1802 and 1832, when Edinburgh rivalled London as a centre for literary and cultural innovation. Duncan shows Walter Scott's key role redefining the novel as the principal modern genre for the representation of national historical life. Times Higher Education Duncan offers here a complex, fascinating monograph on the Scottish novel in the age of Walter Scott... Mandatory reading for scholars of 19th-century studies and the history of the novel. -- M.E. Burstein Choice

A compelling account of Scottish fiction between 1802 and 1832, when Edinburgh rivalled London as a centre for literary and cultural innovation. Duncan shows Walter Scott's key role redefining the novel as the principal modern genre for the representation of national historical life.
(Times Higher Education )

Duncan offers here a complex, fascinating monograph on the Scottish novel in the age of Walter Scott. . . . Mandatory reading for scholars of 19th-century studies and the history of the novel.
(M.E. Burstein Choice )

Scott's Shadow is a splendid achievement. Rich, dense, and provocative, it rereads the novel's status as exemplary genre of national life in the nineteenth century. The most complete account to date of the dynamic matrix of Scottish literary production and reception in the years of Edinburgh's ascendancy as a publishing center, this book will rapidly become standard reading in the history of the British novel and in studies of Romanticism.
(Ina Ferris, University of Ottawa )

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2008 Shortlists


Meaghan Delahunt The Red Book Granta Books
Mick Imlah The Lost Leader Faber and faber
James Kelman Kieron Smith, Boy Hamish Hamilton books
Martainn Mac an T-Saoir An Latha as Fhaide CLÀR
James Meek We Are Now Beginning Our Descent Canongate
Andrew O'Hagan The Atlantic Ocean Faber and faber
Ali Smith Girl meets boy Canongate


D C Jackson The Wall faber and faber
Simon Kövesi James Kelman Manchester University Press
Shona MacLean The Redemption of Alexander Seaton Quercus
Andrea McNicoll Moonshine in the Morning Alma Books
Andrew Nicoll The Good Mayor Black and White Publishing Ltd.
Elaine di Rollo The Peachgrowers' Almanac Chatto & Windus

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Scottish Book of the Year - A L Kennedy's Day published by Jonathan Cape

Scottish First Book of the Year - Mark McNay's Fresh A Novel published by Cannongate

SCOTTISH BOOK OF THE YEAR 2007 Shortlist - supported by The Faculty of Advocates.

Meg Bateman Soirbheas - Fair Wind, Polygon

Robert Crawford Scotland's Books The Penguin History of Scottish Literature, Penguin

William Dalrymple The Last Mughal, The Fall of a Dynasty, Delhi, 1857, Bloomsbury

A L Kennedy Day, Jonathan Cape

Marista Leishman My Father: Reith of the BBC, Saint Andrew Press

Andrew Marr A History of Modern Britain(BBC), MacMillan

Iain Moireach Snìomh Nan Dual 6 Cluichean, Acair

Don Paterson Orpheus, Faber and Faber

Trevor Royle The Flowers of the Forest, Scotland and the First World War, Birlinn

SCOTTISH FIRST BOOK OF THE YEAR 2007 Shortlist - supported by The Royal Mail Group.

Angus Dunn Writing in the Sand, Luath Press

Mark McNay Fresh A Novel, Canongate

Stef Penney The Tenderness of Wolves, Quercus

Remzije Sherifi Shadow Behind the Sun, Sandstone Press

Saltire Society Scottish Book of the Year 1982- 2007

1982 - Lanark by Alasdair Gray[
1984 - Intimate Voices by Tom Leonard
1986 - A Question of Loyalties by Allan Massie
1987 - The Stories of Muriel Spark by Muriel Spark
1994 - Burns by James A. Mackay
1995 - So I am Glad by A. L. Kennedy
1996 - The Kiln by William McIlvanney
1997 - Grace Notes by Bernard MacLaverty
1998 - The Sopranos by Alan Warner
1999 - Pursuits by George Bruce
2000 - The Lantern Bearers by Ronald Frame
2001 - Medea by Liz Lochhead
2002 - Clara by Janice Galloway (based on the life of Clara Schumann)
2003 - Joseph Knight by James Robertson
2004 - In Another Light by Andrew Greig
2005 - Case Histories by Kate Atkinson
2006 - A Lie About My Father by John Burnside
2007 - Day by A. L. Kennedy

Royal Mail/Scottish Best First Book of the Year 1991- 2007

1991 - Night Geometry And The Garscadden Trains by A. L. Kennedy
1992 - Adoption Papers by Jackie Kay
1995 - Free Love and other stories by Ali Smith
1996 - Slattern by Kate Clanchy
1997 - A Painted Field by Robin Robertson
1998 - The Pied Piper’s Poison by Christopher Wallace and Two Clocks Ticking by Dennis O'Donnell
1999 - Some Rain Must Fall by Michael Faber
2000 - The Rising Sun by Douglas Galbraith
2001 - In the Blue House by Meaghan Delahunt
2002 - Burns the Radical by Liam McIlvanney and The Cutting Room by Louise Welsh
2003 - Ath - Aithne by Martainn Mac an t-Saoir
2004 - Stargazing by Peter Hill
2005 - Amande's Bed by John Aberdein
2006 - George Mackay Brown The Life by Maggie Fergusson
2007 - Fresh - A novel by Mark McNay

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