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Saltire Society opens Scotland's national book awards to entries as event turns page on a new chapter after coronavirus setback


By Hector MacKenzie

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Ewan Morrison’s Nina X won the Saltire Society Scottish Fiction Book of the Year in 2019 and is currently being developed as a feature film.
Ewan Morrison’s Nina X won the Saltire Society Scottish Fiction Book of the Year in 2019 and is currently being developed as a feature film.

Scotland's national book awards are now open to submissions from publishers around the world.

Eligible books must be either written by a Scottish-born writer; a writer living in Scotland; about a Scottish individual; or focusing on a Scottish theme.

The Saltire Society says it looks forward to welcoming entries from all over the world.

Recognising work across six literary disciplines, awards include Non-Fiction Book of the Year, Fiction Book of the Year, First Book of the Year, Research Book of the Year, History Book of the Year and Poetry Book of the Year.

The winner of each award receives a cash prize of £2000 and goes on to be considered for the top prize of Scottish Book of the Year, receiving a further £5000.

2020 saw the Awards put on hold due to Covid 19, however, the 2021 Awards have been configured so that no book published since the 2019 Awards will miss out on national recognition.

Books published between September 1, 2019 and the February 28, 2021 will be eligible across the six awards.

Past winners include Ewan Morrison, Janette Ayachi and Professor Sue Black.

Janette Ayachi won the Poetry Book of the Year 2019 for her work Hand Over Mouth Music and has had her essays and poetry published internationally, translated into Greek, French and Spanish.

Ewan Morrison’s Nina X won the Saltire Society Scottish Fiction Book of the Year in 2019 and is currently being developed as a feature film. Professor Black won the Book of the Year in 2016 for All That Remains. Sue Black has now been immortalised by artist Ken Currie which is currently on display at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.

2019 saw the Saltire Literary Awards expanded with the Lifetime Achievement Award, presented to Alasdair Gray, and the Book Cover Design Award. Both of which will return for 2021. The Book Cover Design Award is now open for nominations, with the Lifetime Achievement Award opening in the summer.

The Society has again opened up the opportunity to be part of Scotland’s national book awards to the public. Individuals are invited to apply to be a public judge on the First Book, Fiction Book, Non-Fiction Book and Poetry Book Award.

The Publisher and Emerging Publisher Awards will be launched later in the month.

Sarah Mason, director of the Saltire Society, said: "We are thrilled to be back celebrating Scotland’s literature and publishing in 2021.

"2020 was a difficult year for many and the creative sector was hit extremely hard. By ensuring the awards are more accessible and easier to take part in, we hope to bring the literary community together again to celebrate the amazing work and innovation that has taken place.

"We are excited to be continuing the Lifetime Achievement Award and the Book Cover Award, which were new initiatives in 2019, and to offer the opportunity to be a public judge on four of our awards.

The Society has paid tribute to partners including Publishing Scotland, the Scottish Historical Review Trust and the National Library of Scotland. It said: "Without their longstanding and invaluable support, these awards would not be the national celebration they are."

Now firmly established as Scotland’s National Book Awards, the Saltire Society Literary Awards 2021 are supported by the Turtleton Trust. The winners of all the Awards will be announced at a ceremony in late November 2021. The format of the ceremony is yet to be confirmed and will take shape in accordance with government guidelines as the event draws closer.

The full list of current awards is as follows:

 First Book of the Year, an award presented to a living author/authors who have not

previously been published;

 Fiction Book of the Year, one of two new Awards replacing the Literary Book of the Year

Award, first introduced in 2014;

 History Book of the Year, which honours the memory of Saltire Society member, historian

and writer Agnes Mure McKenzie, and is supported by the Scottish Historical Review Trust;

 Non-Fiction Book of the Year, a second new Award replacing the Literary Book of the Year

award, first introduced in 2014;

 Research Book of the Year, which recognises outstanding academic achievement and is

supported by the National Library of Scotland;

 Poetry Book of the year, also first launched in 2014 to recognise Scotland’s rich poetic

traditions;

 Book Cover Award, celebrating the innovation and imagination of designers.

Further information as well as entry forms can be found at: https://www.saltiresociety.org.uk/scotlands-national-book-awards-21

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