Saltire Society unveils shortlist for new Scottish book cover award

Saltire Society unveils shortlist for new Scottish book cover award

Books from publishers including 404 ink and Charco Press have been shortlisted for a brand-new award celebrating "the enormous talent Scotland has in book production and design" as part of the 2019 Saltire Literary Awards.

The award shortlisted six different book covers, which were created either by Scottish designers or an in-house designer for a Scottish publisher.

Sarah Mason, programme director at the Saltire Society, said its shortlistees "exemplify creativity and the relationship between the designer, the publisher and the author", adding: "From augmented reality and the dependence on mobile devices to lyrics on love, work and protest; the shortlisted works show how a book cover can start the conversation before the first page is turned."

The shortlisted book covers are:

Self Heal by Samantha Walton, published by Boilerhouse Press and designed by Emily Benton Book Design. The judges commented: "The beauty of this cover lies in its simplicity. Reflecting what lies beneath, the ‘plaster’ enveloping the book. The typography is well thought out, which is extremely impactful on such a pared-back design."

The Wind That Lays Waste by Selva Almada (translated by Chris Andrews), published by Charco Press and designed by Pablo Font. The judges said: "The design echoes the story within while allowing the viewer room to take from it their own meaning. The use of colour and an evocative image creates a strong, bold cover."

Guardians of the Wild Unicorns by Lindsay Littleson, illustrated by Samantha Woo and published by Kelpies (an imprint of Floris Books). The cover was designed by Leah McDowell of elemdesign and illustrated by Samantha Woo. The judges said: "The magic and fantasy within the pages of this book are clearly seen through this multi-layered cover. This design reveals new things on each view."

In Nearby Bushes by Kei Miller, published by Carcarnet Press and designed by Andrew Latimer.  The judges called it "a conceptually strong and unique work that sees the title and author hiding in a newspaper like text", adding: "The use of the strong yellow colour gives a brightness to the overall design."

Animals Eat Each Other by Elle Nash, published by 404 ink and designed by Leah McDowell of elemdesign. The judges said: "This book design has layers that show it has been really thought through. The use of the tattooed arms and hands to create an animal jaw is very clever in reflecting the story within."

The Disconnect by Keren David, published by Barrington Stoke and designed by Julie-Ann Murray and illustrated by Jen Collins. The judges commented: "This design works well in telling a story. With touches, such as the subtle fade, suggesting an augmented reality. This design creates intrigue, inviting the reader to find out more."

Alan Bett of Creative Scotland, which organisation supports the awards, said: "Cover design helps form our first impressions of a book and communicates what’s within its pages. They often influence which are picked off the shelf, bought and read, and which are not. It is great to see that the Saltire Literary Awards are recognising the art of the book cover; this essential part of the publishing process that results in the engaging and often beautiful designs that help books tell their story."

The winner of the Scottish Book Cover Award will be announced, together with all the Saltire Literary Awards, at a ceremony at the National Museum of Scotland on Saturday 30th November.

Tickets to the event are available from