Women lead the field in 2014 Saltire Award shortlists

The shortlists for this year’s Saltire Literary Awards – widely held to be among the most prestigious literary prizes in Scotland – were revealed this past weekend as part of the annual Wigtown Book Festival, with women leading the field for the Literary Book of the Year. Five of that category’s six nominees are female: A L Kennedy (All the Rage), Anne Donovan (Gone Are the Leaves), Sally Magnusson (Where Memories Go), Rona Munro (The James Plays) and Booker nominee Ali Smith (How to Be Good), with the lone man Martin MacIntyre (Cala Bendita ‘S aBheannachdan).

The shortlist for First Book of the Year is similarly weighted, again with five women and one man: Niall Campbell (Moontide), Kate Horsley (The Monster’s Wife), Kirsty Logan (The Rental Heart), Anneliese Mackintosh (Any Other Mouth), Mary F McDonough (The Last Pair of Ears) and, with by far the highest profile of any of these first timers, one Kirsty Wark (The Legacy of Elizabeth Pringle).

Nominated for Poetry Book of the Year are: 2013 winner of the Saltire’s Scottish Book of the Year award John Burnside (All in One Breath), Jen Hadfield (Byssus), Alexander Hutchison (Bones & Breath), Forward Prize winner Kei Miller (The Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion), J O Morgan (At Maldon) and J L Williams (Locust and Marlin).

Up for History Book of the year are: Allan Kennedy (Governing Gaeldom: The Scottish Highland and the Restoration State, 1600-1688), Richard Marsden (Cosmo Innes and the Defence of Scotland’s Past), Steve Bruce (Scottish Gods: Religion in Modern Scotland 1900-2012), Michael Fry (A New Race of Men) and P Dennison et al (Painting the Town: Scottish Urban History in Art).

Finally, the nominees for Research Book of the Year are: Jim Crumley (The Eagle’s Way), Catherine Moorehead  (The K2 Man (and his Molluscs)), Murray Pittock (Material Culture and Sedition 1688 – 1760), Iain J M Robertson (Landscapes of Protest in the Scottish Highlands after 1914), Robert McColl Millar, William Barras & Lisa Maria Bonnici (Lexical Change and Attrition in the Scottish Fishing Communities) and Bob Harris & Charles McKean (The Scottish Town in the Age of Enlightenment 1740 – 1820).

The winners of each of the above five categories – besides being awarded £2,000 each – are then nominated for the Scottish Book of the Year award, with the winner of that prize taking home £10,000.

Besides awarding individual authors, the Saltire Society also recognises achievement in publishing, with six nominees for the Publisher of the Year award: Backpage, Birlinn, Bright Red, Floris, Freight and Sandstone.

Saltire Society executive director Jim Tough says of the shortlists: ‘Once again, this year’s judging panel has been truly impressed by the quality and range of books to be considered for the 2014 shortlist. Ranging from poetry and plays to novels and non-fiction, extending the length and breadth of the country and far beyond, here is a wealth of contemporary literature written by Scots or inspired by Scottish culture, landscape and history.’


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