Scottish author and musician Colin MacIntyre has won the 2015 Edinburgh International Book Festival’s First Book Award for his debut novel The Letters of Ivor Punch (Weidenfeld & Nicolson).
The First Book Award encourages the book festival audience to discover the "wealth" of debut fiction featured in the festival programme each year and vote for their favourite.
The Letters of Ivor Punch has been described by the organisers as a “beguiling tale of secrets and sadness with a keen sense of place, on a remote Hebridean island”. It introduces a pioneering female travel writer, two fatherless boys and a man who, quite literally, fell from the sky. "At the centre of it all sits the figure who links the past to the present – the irrepressible, unforgettable Ivor Punch – who will not be taking his secrets to the grave," said the prize organisers.
MacIntyre said: “I am absolutely thrilled to be the recipient of the 2015 Edinburgh International Book Festival's First Book Award. I had a wonderful time appearing at the festival this year and would like to thank everyone involved for this very exciting honour, as well as my publishers W&N Books, my agent James Gill, and extra special thanks to everyone who voted for my novel.”
MacIntyre is an award-winning musician who has released six albums to date, including two top 20 albums under the name Mull Historical Society. He has toured worldwide with acts such as The Strokes, Elbow and REM.
Nick Barley, director of the Edinburgh International Book Festival, said: “As a songwriter, Colin MacIntyre seems always to have been a natural storyteller. Perhaps it was only a matter of time before he turned his abilities to the longer form of the novel. It is fitting that the man best known as Mull Historical Society has crafted a story to which he has put his own name, yet it is a novel which owes so much to his roots on the island of Mull. Such powerful storytelling resonated strongly with readers at the Book Festival, making Colin a runaway winner in voting for the First Book Award.”
Every novel that was featured in the festival programme - 56 in total - including those whose work was published in English for the first time, were eligible for the award. Readers and book festival audiences were able to vote at the festival or online and over 2,500 votes were received by the closing date, with every eligible book receiving at least one vote.
The authors eligible for the 2016 First Book Award will be announced in June 2016. Full details of all nominees for this year’s First Book Award can be found at www.edbookfest.co.uk/the-festival/first-book-award.