Saltire Society Literary Awards

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The Saltire Society Literary Awards are made annually by the Saltire Society. The awards seek to recognise books which are either by "living authors of Scottish descent or residing in Scotland," or which deal with "the work or life of a Scot or with a Scottish question, event or situation."[1] The awards have been described as "the premiere prize for writing by Scots or about Scotland."[2]

The first Saltire Society Book Award was given in 1937, the year after the Saltire Society was established. No awards were given after 1939 due to the Second World War, and the next award was made 1956. The History Book of the Year award was inaugurated in 1965. In 1982 sponsorship was obtained and since then the awards have been made annually. First books have been recognised since 1988, and in 1998 the award for Scottish Research Book of the Year was established.[3] The Saltire Society currently presents awards in the four following categories:[4]

  • Scottish Book of the Year
  • Scottish First Book of the Year
  • Scottish History Book of the Year
  • Scottish Research Book of the Year

In addition, an annual student travel bursary is awarded to a creative writing graduate, and the Ross Roy Medal is awarded for the best PhD thesis on a subject related to Scottish literature.[4] A one-off Homecoming Book of the Year award was made in 2009 to celebrate the "Year of Homecoming": the award was presented to American professor Donald Worster for his biography of John Muir, A Passion for Nature.[5]

Past winners[edit]

Scottish Book of the Year[edit]

The Scottish Book of the Year award was established in 1937,[3] and has been given annually since 1982. The award is open to novels, poetry and plays as well as non-fiction works on Scottish subjects.[4]

Year Work Author Ref(s)
1937 Highland River Neil Gunn [3]
The Lord Bothwell Robert Gore-Browne
1939 Three Plays Robert McLellan [3]
1956 One Foot in Eden Edwin Muir [3]
1958 Scotland Before History Stuart Piggott [3]
1982 Lanark: A Life in Four Books Alasdair Gray [6]
1983 Collected Poems Derick Thompson
Poems of Thirty Years Edwin Morgan
1984 God and the Poets: The Gifford Lectures David Daiches
Intimate Voices: Selected Works Tom Leonard
1985 Collected Poems Norman MacCaig
1986 A Storm From Paradise Stuart Hood
1987 The Stories of Muriel Spark Muriel Spark
1988 Games with Shadows Neal Ascherson
The Enchanted Glass: Britain and its Monarchy Tom Nairn
1989 A Question of Loyalties Allan Massie
1990 O Choille gu Bearradh / From Wood to Ridge Sorley MacLean
1991 Scottish Art 1460–1990 Duncan Macmillan
1992 Collected Poems Iain Crichton Smith
1993 Robert Burns - A Biography James A. Mackay
1994 Beside the Ocean of Time George Mackay Brown
1995 Black Sea Neal Ascherson
1996 The Kiln William McIlvanney
1997 Grace Notes Bernard MacLaverty
1998 The Sopranos Alan Warner
1999 Pursuits George Bruce
2000 The Lantern Bearers Ronald Frame
2001 Medea Liz Lochhead
2002 Clara Janice Galloway [7]
2003 Joseph Knight James Robertson
2004 In Another Light Andrew Greig [8]
2005 Case Histories Kate Atkinson [9]
2006 A Lie About My Father John Burnside
2007 Day A. L. Kennedy
2008 Kieron Smith, boy James Kelman [10]
2009 The Bard: Robert Burns, a Biography Robert Crawford [11]
2010 And the Land Lay Still James Robertson [12]
2011 A Life in Pictures Alasdair Gray
2012 Mo Said She was Quirky James Kelman
2013 Something Like Happy John Burnside [13]
2014 The Scottish Town in the Age of Enlightenment 1740-1820 Bob Harris and Charles McKean [14]
2015 The Book of Strange New Things Michel Faber [15]

Scottish First Book of the Year[edit]

The first book of the year award was inaugurated in 1988 and recognises an author who has not previously published a book. As with the book of the year, the award is open to novels, plays, poems and non-fiction.[4]

Year Work Author Ref(s)
1988 The Richt Noise Raymond Vettese
1989 Cells of Knowledge Sian Hayton
1990 The Ballad of Sawney Bain Harry Tait
1991 Night Geometry And The Garscadden Trains A. L. Kennedy
1992 Adoption Papers Jackie Kay
1995 Free Love and Other Stories Ali Smith
1996 Slattern Kate Clanchy
1997 A Painted Field Robin Robertson
1998 The Pied Piper’s Poison Christopher Wallace
Two Clocks Ticking Dennis O'Donnell
1999 Some Rain Must Fall Michel Faber
2000 The Rising Sun Douglas Galbraith
2001 In the Blue House Meaghan Delahunt
2002 Burns the Radical Liam McIlvanney [7]
The Cutting Room Louise Welsh
2003 Ath - Aithne Martainn Mac an t-Saoir
2004 Stargazing Peter Hill [8]
2005 Amande's Bed John Aberdein [9]
2006 George Mackay Brown: The Life Maggie Fergusson
2007 Fresh - A novel Mark McNay
2008 The Good Mayor Andrew Nicoll
2009 The Tin-Kin Eleanor Thom [11]
2010 The History of Orkney Literature Simon W. Hall [12]
The Death of Lomond Friel Sue Peebles
2011 The Echo Chamber Luke Williams
2012 The Last Highlander Sarah Fraser
2013 Air Cuan Dubh Drilseach Tim Armstrong [13]
As Far As I Can See Eunice Buchanan
2014 Moontide Niall Campbell [14]
2015 On the Edges of Vision Helen McClory [16]

Scottish History Book of the Year[edit]

The award for History Book of the Year was established in 1965 in honour of the historian Agnes Mure Mackenzie (1891–1955).[17]

Year Work Author Ref(s)
1982 Thomas Chalmers and the Godly Commonwealth Stewart J. Brown
1986 A Century of the Scottish People 1830–1950 T. C. Smout
1994 James I Michael Brown
1995 The Great Highland Famine Tom Devine
1997 The Early Stewart Kings: Robert II and Robert III 1371–1406 Stephen Boardman
1998 The Identity of the Scottish Nation William Ferguson
1999 Patrick Sellar and the Highland Clearances: Homicide, Eviction and the Price of Progress Eric Richards
2000 The Rough Wooings: Mary Queen Of Scots 1542–1551 Marcus Merriman
2001 The Late Medieval Scottish Parliament: Politics and the Three Estates 1424–1488 Roland Tanner [18]
2002 The Culture of Protestantism in Early Modern Scotland Margo Todd
2004 Adventurers and Exiles: The Great Scottish Exodus Marjory Harper [8]
2005 David II Michael Penman [9]
2006 Native Lordships in Medieval Scotland: The Earldoms of Strathearn and Lennox c.1140–1365 Cynthia J. Neville [19]
2006 Scotland's Historic Heraldry Bruce A. McAndrew [20]
2007 The Scots and the Union Christopher Whatley [21]
2008 From Pictland to Alba 789–1070 Alex Woolf [22]
2009 A History of Scottish Philosophy Alexander Broadie [23]
2010 Whaur Extremes Meet: Scotland's Twentieth Century Catriona M. M. MacDonald [24]
2011 The Inner Life of Empires: An Eighteenth Century History Emma Rothschild [25]
2012 A Military History of Scotland E. Spiers, J. Crang and M. Strickland (editors) [17]
2013 An Enlightened Duke: The Life of Archibald Campbell (1682–1761), Earl of Ilay, 3rd Duke of Argyll Roger L. Emerson [13]
2014 Scottish Gods, Religion in the Modern Scotland 1900-2012 Steve Bruce [14]
2015 A Chasm In Time - Scottish War Art And Artists in the Twentieth Century Patricia R. Andrew [26]

Scottish Research Book of the Year[edit]

This award was initiated in 1998, and is made jointly by the Saltire Society and the National Library of Scotland. It aims to recognise books which "represent a significant body of research and offer new insight or dimension to the subject".[4]

Year Work Author Ref(s)
1998 The Edinburgh History of the Scots Language Charles Jones
1999 The Poems of William Dunbar (Volumes I & II) Priscilla Bawcutt
2000 Jessie Kesson: Writing her Life Isobel Murray
The Highland Pipe and Scottish Society William Donaldson
2001 The Scottish Book Trade 15001720 Alastair J. Mann
2002 Sorley Maclean, Poems to Eimhir Christopher Whyte (editor) [7]
Public Sculpture of Glasgow Ray McKenzie
2003 The Greig-Duncan Folk Song Collection Emily B. Lyle and Katherine Campbell
2004 The Last of England? Randall Stevenson [8]
Maritime Enterprise and Empire: Sir William MacKinnon and his Business Network 1823–1893 J. Forbes Munro
2005 Weights and Measures In Scotland R. D. Connor and A. D. C. Simpson, edited by Alison Morrison-Low [9]
2006 Dùthchas Nan Gàidheal: Selected Essays of John MacInnes Michael Newton
2007 Scotland's Books: The Penguin History of Scottish Literature Robert Crawford
2008 Scott's Shadow: The Novel in Romantic Edinburgh Ian Duncan
2009 Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary Christian Kay, Jane Roberts, Michael Samuels and Irené Wotherspoon [11]
2010 Robert Burns & Pastoral: Poetry and Improvement in Late Eighteenth-Century Scotland Nigel Leask [12]
Adam Smith: an Enlightened Life Nicholas Phillipson
2011 Beyond the Last Dragon James McGonigal
2012 Scotland: Mapping the Nation C. Fleet, C. Withers and M. Wilkes
2013 The Sunlit Summit: The Life of W. H. Murray Robin Lloyd-Jones [13]
2015 Clubbing Together: Ethnicity, Civility and Formal Sociability in the Scottish Diaspora to 1930 Tanja Bueltmann [27]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Awards". Saltire Society. Retrieved 20 January 2014. 
  2. ^ Mansfield, Susan (6 November 2002). "Welsh a surprise contender for Saltire Awards". The Scotsman. Retrieved 18 December 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f "The Saltire Society Book of the Year Awards: A celebration of twenty five years of literature". Scottish Arts Council. Retrieved 22 January 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c d e "Scottish Book of the Year Winner Announced". Saltire Society. Retrieved 20 January 2014. 
  5. ^ "Saltire Society Literary Awards - Winning Books". Books from Scotland. Retrieved 20 January 2014. 
  6. ^ Glass, Rodge (2012). Alasdair Gray: A Secretary's Biography. Bloomsbury. p. 166. ISBN 9781408833353. 
  7. ^ a b c "Saltire awards ceremony at the library". National Library of Scotland. 12 December 2002. 
  8. ^ a b c d "Saltire book awards announced". National Library of Scotland. 3 December 2004. 
  9. ^ a b c d "Saltire Society awards announced at NLS". National Library of Scotland. 20 November 2005. 
  10. ^ "Kelman takes top literary prize as Saltire awards get boost" Archived 2008-12-01 at the Wayback Machine., The Herald, Phil Miller, November 29, 2008.
  11. ^ a b c "Burns Biography takes Saltire main prize". National Library of Scotland. 27 November 2009. 
  12. ^ a b c "Salmond's favourite book wins Saltire Society award". The Herald. 30 November 2010. Retrieved 16 August 2011. 
  13. ^ a b c d Brian Ferguson (15 November 2013). "Gaelic science fiction wins literary prize". The Scotsman. Retrieved 28 November 2013. 
  14. ^ a b c "Academic work named Saltire Book of the Year". BBC News. 11 November 2014. Retrieved 11 November 2014. 
  15. ^ "Saltire Society Scottish Book of the Year Award". Saltire Society Scotland. Retrieved 6 January 2016. 
  16. ^ "Scottish First Book of the Year Award". Saltire Society Scotland. Retrieved 6 January 2016. 
  17. ^ a b "Edinburgh Saltire Success". University of Edinburgh. 7 January 2013. Archived from the original on 1 February 2014. 
  18. ^ "Prestigious prize for Scottish Parliament research". University of St Andrews. 23 April 2003. 
  19. ^ "Native Lordship in Medieval Scotland". Four Courts Press. Archived from the original on 1 February 2014. Retrieved 20 January 2014. 
  20. ^ "History Book of the Year 2006". Saltire Society. Retrieved 20 January 2014. 
  21. ^ "History Book of the Year 2007". Saltire Society. Retrieved 20 January 2014. 
  22. ^ "History Book of the Year 2008". Saltire Society. Retrieved 20 January 2014. 
  23. ^ "History Book of the Year 2009". Saltire Society. Retrieved 20 January 2014. 
  24. ^ "History Book of the Year 2010". Saltire Society. Retrieved 20 January 2014. 
  25. ^ "History Book of the Year 2011". Saltire Society. Retrieved 20 January 2014. 
  26. ^ "Scottish History Book of the Year Award". Saltire Society Scotland. Retrieved 6 January 2016. 
  27. ^ "Scottish Research Book of the Year Award". Saltire Society Scotland. Retrieved 6 January 2016. 
  • Strachan, Anne (1989) Prizewinning Literature: UK Literary Award Winners Library Association Publishing Ltd. ISBN 0-85365-558-8