Kate Atkinson, Michel Faber and Irvine Welsh feature on the shortlists for the 2015 Saltire Literary Awards, with two new awards introduced this year: The Fiction Book of the Year and Non-Fiction Book of the Year. The new prizes were created for the Awards in place of last year's Literary Book of the Year, due to the plethora of titles eligible for submission.
The “hotly contested” shortlist for the new Fiction Book of the Year award includes the latest novel from Whitbread-award winning writer Kate Atkinson, God in Ruins (Transworld), alongside The Book of Strange New Things (Canongate), the most recent book from Michael Faber, who won the Saltire First Book Award in 1999. Also featured is A Decent Ride (Jonathan Cape) by Irvine Welsh as well as Gaelic language novel An Dosan (Acair) by Norma Nicleoid. Jellyfish (Freight Books) by Janice Galloway and The Illuminations by Andrew O'Hagan (Faber & Faber) round out the shortlist.
The new Non-Fiction Book of the Year shortlist consists of Young Eliot (Jonathan Cape) by Robert Crawford, Adventures in Human Being (Profile Books) by Gavin Francis, Lifeblood (Freight) by Gill Fyffe and This is Scotland (Luath Press) by Daniel Gray and Alan McCredie.
The shortlists for all six awards [full details below] were announced earlier this evening (22nd October) at events hosted simultaneously in Edinburgh and London. The announcements were given at the Edinburgh West End branch of Waterstones by performance poets Rally and Broad, and at the London Piccadilly Branch of Waterstones by National Poet for Scotland, Liz Lochhead.
Jim Tough, Saltire Society executive director, said: “The Saltire Literary Awards continue to go from strength to strength with the number of book award categories increasing from five to six this year. The decision to announce the shortlists simultaneously in London and Edinburgh, with the support of Waterstones booksellers, is a very deliberate attempt to broaden media and public interest in these prestigious awards. Hopefully it will help to ensure that the awards, run by a small charity and chosen by a panel of judges who give their time voluntarily, receive the recognition they deserve."
The winners of each of the six award categories for the 2015 Saltire Literary Awards will receive a £2,000 cash prize, with the winning book from each category going on to compete for the £8,000 Satire Scottish Book of the Year Award which is supported by Creative Scotland. Winners will be announced on 26th November, when the winner of the Saltire Publisher of the Year Award will also be announced.
The awards are organised by the Saltire Society, a non-political independent charity founded in 1936 which has membership branches throughout Scotland.
The full shortlists are:
Saltire Society Scottish Research Book of the Year Award
Clubbing Together: Ethnicity, Civility and Formal Sociability in the Scottish Diaspora to 1930 (Liverpool University Press) by Dr. Tanja Bueltmann - the first global study of Scottish migrants concerning their ethnicity in the diaspora.
Microbes and the Fetlar Man: The Life of Sir William Watson Cheyne (Humming Earth) by Jane Coutts - the biography of one of Britian’s medical bacteriologists who lived in the 19th Century.
The Voice of the People: Hamish Henderson and Scottish Cultural Politics (Edinburgh University Press) by Corey Gibson - an examination of Henderson’s commitment to finding a form of artistic expression suitable for post-war Europe.
The Native Woodlands of Scotland by Scott Wilson (Edinburgh University Press) - a textbook bout the native woodland habitats of Scotland.
Saltire Scottish History Book of the Year Award
A Chasm in Time: Scottish War Art and Artists in the Twentieth Century (Birlinn) by Dr. Patricia R. Andrew - an illustrated account of Scotland’s artists’ responses to and depictions of war.
A History of Drinking: The Scottish Pub since 1700 (Edinburgh University Press) by Anthony Cooke - the first "serious" study of Scotland’s public houses.
John Knox by Jane Dawson (Yale University Press) - a "fresh" account of the life of one of Scotland’s most influential men.
The Going Down of the Sun: The Great War and a rural Lewis community (Acair) by Donald A Morrison - an account in English and Gaelic of a community in the Outer Hebrides during First World War.
Scottish Poetry Book of the Year Award
Killochries (Freight) by Jim Carruth - about a young man addicted to drink and drugs.
Cream of the Well (Luath Press) by Valerie Gillies - a collection of work by the Canada-born Scottish poet who was Edinburgh Makar between 2005 and 2008.
Not All Honey (Bloodaxe Books) by St. Andrews born poet Roddy Lumsden.
The Good Dark (Penned in the Margins) by Edinburgh City Libraries’ Poet in Residence Ryan van Winkle.
Saltire Scottish First Book of the Year Award
The People’s Referendum (Luath Press) by Peter Geoghegan - a record of the feelings of Scottish communities in the lead-up to the referendum on Scottish independence in 2014.
Airstream (Homebound Publications) by Audrey Henderson - an account of the author's travels in a first published collection of her poems.
On the Edges of Vision (Queen’s Ferry Press) by Helen McClory - a collection of dark short stories and prose poetry about the limits of the conscious and the darkness within.
The Leipzig Affair (Aurora Metro Books Ltd) by Fiona Rintoul - a Cold War spy thriller recently serialised on BBC Radio 4’s Book at Bedtime in which a Scottish postgraduate student becomes involved with East German dissidents.
Lie of the Land (Polygon) by Michael F Russell - a bleak and dystopian vision of a Scotland where an apocalypse has left the survivors hemmed in and controlled by a never seen but always powerful authority.
Sixty Degrees North (Polygon) by Malachy Tallack - a collection of essays about encounters with cold, distance, bleakness and human survival against often challenging conditions.
Saltire Scottish Fiction Book of the Year
God in Ruins (Transworld Publishers) by Kate Atkinson - an historical novel about Bomber Command’s war but also a moving meditation about life and death.
The Book of Strange New Things (Canongate) by Michael Faber - a work that searchingly discusses human relationships under extreme stress.
Jellyfish (Freight Books) by Janice Galloway - a short story collection which provides incisive studies of human interaction.
An Dosan (Acair) by Norma Nicleoid - a Gaelic language novel mainly set in an island community and focused on an eccentric character who sets out to write a book, becoming increasingly unhinged as he does so.
The Illuminations (Faber & Faber) by Andrew O'Hagan - a novel that combines an old woman’s final failing and loss of independence with a young soldier’s bitter experience of the war in Afghanistan.
A Decent Ride (Jonathan Cape) by Irvine Welsh - an irreverent plunge into an Edinburgh not covered in the guide books.
Saltire Scottish Non-Fiction Book of the Year
Young Eliot (Jonathan Cape) by Robert Crawford - a meticulous biography of the life of renowned poet TS Eliot.
Adventures in Human Being (Profile Books) by Gavin Francis - a book that takes the reader through the things that keep the human being "ticking over".
Lifeblood (Freight) - a book dominated by questions of blood that confronts human error, human bravery and human incompetence, written by Gill Fyffe, who received a blood transfusion contaminated with Hepatitis C in 1988 in one of the UK’s biggest ever medical scandals.
This is Scotland (Luath Press) by Daniel Gray and Alan McCredie - a book of photography and short essays focused on an often unexpected and quirkily original selection of Scottish places.
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