EUP history wins Saltire Book of the Year

EUP history wins Saltire Book of the Year

A book about the history of Scottish towns has won £10,000 after being named Saltire Book of the Year.

The Scottish Town in the Age of Enlightenment 1740-1820 (Edinburgh University Press), written by historians Bob Harris and Charles McKean of Dundee University, was awarded the top prize at the Saltire Society's annual literary awards, held in Edinburgh last night (11th November).

The book, which also won the 2014 Saltire Society Scottish Research Book of the Year award, was described by the judging panel as "magisterial" and "a pioneering study of Scottish urbanisation".

Ali Smith won the Literary Book of the Year award for her Man Booker Prize-shortlisted novel How to be Both (Hamish Hamilton), while Sandstone Press was crowned Publisher of the Year.

Other winners included Edinburgh-based poet Niall Campbell who won the First Book of the Year award for his collection of verse, Moontide (Bloodaxe Books Ltd), and fellow poet Alexander Hutchinson’s collection Bones & Breath (Salt Publishing), which received the Saltire Scottish Poetry Book of the Year Award.

Edinburgh University Press also had a winner in the History Book of the Year category with social historian Steve Bruce’s Scottish Gods, Religion in the Modern Scotland 1900-2012.

Each individual book category winner received a £2,000 cash prize while the winner of the publisher of the year award received £4,000.

The winner of the Saltire Society's 2014 Ross Roy Medal, which commemorates Professor G Ross Roy of the University of South Carolina’s contribution to Scottish literature, was also announced. Barbara Leonardi from Stirling University won it for her thesis, An Exploration of Gender Stereotypes in the Work of James Hogg.

Lenore Bell from St Andrews University was announced the winner of the 2015 Saltire Society Literary Travel Bursary, supported by the British Council. She intends to put the £1,500 towards research for a novel set in Edwardian Brooklyn.