Jonathan Cape titles dominate the 2017 Saltire Literary Award shortlists alongside books from a cluster of indies including 404 Ink, Birlinn, Carcanet Press and Luath.
Established writers James Kelman, Bernard MacLaverty and Denise Mina are rubbing shoulders with emerging talents such as Ever Dundas and Kate Hunter in the nominations, revealed on Thursday evening (12th October).
Recently formed Nasty Women publisher 404 Ink has scored a hat-trick through a nomination for the Publisher of the Year Award, along with BHP Comic, Birlinn, Canongate, Handspring, and Vagabond Voices, as well as two nods in another category, Emerging Publisher of the Year. Both co-founders of the Scottish-based indie, Heather McDaid and Laura Jones, are shortlisted and are joined by Kirstin Lamb, PR and rights manager of fellow indie Barrington Stoke as well as Laura Waddell, publishing manager, of HarperCollins.
Jonathan Cape is up three times for the Scottish Fiction Book of the Year shortlist alone with MacLaverty's Midwinter Break up against Burnside’s Ashland and Vine. They are up against Kelman for That was a Shiver and Other Stories (Canongate) and Denise Mina, for The Long Drop (Harvill Seckor) which already scooped the McIllvanney prize.
Burnside is nominated again for Still Life with Feeding Snake for Scottish Poetry Book of the Year Award (Jonathan Cape) – the fourth shortlisting for the PRH imprint - whilst Manchester-based Carcanet features three times in this category alone with Moon for Sale by Richard Price, In Search of Dustie-Fute by David Kinloch, and Farm by the Shore by Thomas A Clark. Em Strang is also nominated for Bird-Woman (Shearsman) along with Twist by Pippa Little (Arc).
Award-winning writer and translator Daniel Shand is nominated in the First Book of the Year category for Fallow (Sandstone Press) along with “beguiling” historical story Goblin by Ever Dundas (Freight Books), the interweaving of crime and taxidermy in Sandra Ireland’s Beneath the Skin (Polygon). Also nominated is The Case Room by Kate Hunter (Fledgling Press Ltd) beside Language of my Choosing: A Creative Scots- Italian Memoir by Anne Pia (Luath) and Mary’s the Name by Ross Sayer (Cranachan Publishing).
Independent publisher Granta got two nods in the Scottish Non-Fiction Book of the Year with Border: A Journey to the Edge of Europe by Kapka Kassabova and Love of Country by Madeleine Bunting. Meanwhile Al Britannia, My Country: A Journey Through Muslim Britain by James Ferguson (published by Transworld Publishers) also features in the category alongside Scotland: Mapping the Islands edited by Christopher Fleet, Charles W J Withers, and Margaret Wilkes (Birlinn). Waypoints: Seascapes and Stories of Scotland's West Coast by Ian Stephen (Bloomsbury) is also shortlisted alongside The Passion of Harry Bingo: Further Dispatches from Unreported Scotland (Sandstone Press) by Peter Ross.
Indie Scottish publisher Birlinn is nominated twice through its John Donald imprint for the Scottish Research Book of the Year with The Campbells of the Ark: Men of Argyll in 1745 (Vol I and II) by Ronald Black and Immortal Memory: Burns and the Scottish People by Christopher Whatley. Stefano Bonino is shortlisted for his exploration of modern Islam, Muslims in Scotland: The Making of Community in a Post-9/11 World (Edinburgh University Press) up against History as Theatrical Metaphor by Ian Brown (Palgrave Macmillan) and The Light Blue Book: 500 Years of Gaelic Love and Transgressive Verse edited by Peter Mackay and Iain MacPherson (Luath).
The shortlist event was hosted at the Edinburgh West End branch of Waterstones and featured readings from last year’s winner of the Scottish Book of the Year Award Kathleen Jamie. The awards are organised by the Saltire Society, a non-political independent charity founded in 1936, which has membership branches throughout Scotland.
Saltire Society programmes director, Sarah Mason, praised “the sheer scale, diversity and excellence [which] exemplify the best in Scotland’s literary sphere”.
The winning book from each of the book awards will go on to compete for the Saltire Scottish Book of the Year Award and an accompanying £3,000 cash prize, awarded to Kathleen Jamie for her poetry collection The Bonniest Companie (Picador) last year.
The winners of all the Saltire Literary Awards, along with the Ross Roy Medal for the best PhD thesis on a subject relating to Scottish literature, will be announced at a ceremony in Edinburgh on St Andrew’s Day (30th November).