Category winners now in running for £30,000 Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust Book of the Year Award
Ewan Morrison, Close Your Eyes – FICTION WINNER
Gavin Francis, Empire Antarctica – NON-FICTION WINNER
Richard Price, Small World – POETRY WINNER
Kerry Hudson, Tony Hogan… – FIRST BOOK WINNER
THE finalists of this year’s Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust Book Awards are announced today (Thursday 5 September).
Ewan Morrison, Gavin Francis, Richard Price, and Kerry Hudson each receive £5,000 after being chosen as winners of the Fiction, Non-Fiction, Poetry and First Book categories by a panel of specialist judges from a shortlist of 18 Scottish authors.
Kerry Hudson is winner in the First Book category for Tony Hogan Bought Me an Ice-Cream Float Before He Stole My Ma; Gavin Francis is winner in the Non-Fiction category for Empire Antarctica; Richard Price is winner in the Poetry category for Small World; and Ewan Morrison is winner in the Fiction category for Close Your Eyes.
Their books are now in the running to win the Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust Book of the Year Award and a further £25,000 (totalling £30,000 – Scotland’s largest literary prize).
Following an online public vote in October, the winner of Scotland’s largest literary prize will be announced on Saturday 2 November at the Lennoxlove Book Festival.
The Scottish Book Awards, sponsored by Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust in partnership with Creative Scotland, have been celebrating exceptional writing for over 40 years – recognising and rewarding the literary talent of authors from or who reside in Scotland, or those whose book is of particular Scottish interest.
Peggy Hughes, programme director at Dundee Literary Festival and a member of the judging panel, said: “The hard decisions and lengthy deliberations we had to make as judges are a measure of the calibre of books submitted for the 2013 prize, particularly in the First Book category.
“From the swagger and sparkle of Kerry Hudson’s Tony Hogan to the solitude and expanse of Gavin Francis’s Empire Antarctica, Ewan Morrison’s exquisite exploration of family and motherhood to Richard Price’s beautiful poetic meditation on grief and love, these four books moved us as readers, transported us and stayed with us.”
Ewan Morrison commented: “My Goodness. I remember when Edwin Morgan won one of the Book Awards, then Ali Smith and James Kelman and Janice Galloway – all heroes of mine. So I’m quite in shock to be on the same platform as them. In a way they were the ladder that got me here. I have to thank them for their commitment to a very special kind of literary culture that is unique to Scotland.”
Gavin Francis commented: “Having your book shortlisted for an award is a little like making it onto one of the Apollo missions – a feeling of immense privilege, a sense of gratitude, and satisfaction that your hard work has paid off. Whether a book wins feels almost secondary; like being the one who gets to walk on the moon.
“I’ve still not come down to earth. Empire Antarctica describes a very personal experience of solitude in one of the widest, emptiest, most austere and elemental landscapes on earth, but it was written between Bo’ness, Orkney and Edinburgh while working as a busy GP. I wanted to write the best book I could while at the same time trying to do the best by my patients. That it has won is a tremendous endorsement of what I’m trying to do.
“I’m grateful to the Scottish education system for encouraging that sort of cross-disciplinary ambition, and that Scottish culture aspires to value our poets and makars as much as it does our doctors and engineers.”
Richard Price commented: “I am delighted to win the Poetry category in the Scottish Book Awards and to be a Finalist. Small World is a breakthrough book for me – the first time I feel I’ve managed to write a poetry collection that tells a braided story, poem by poem, across a whole book, as if it were an unfolding novel or film, and with I hope a strong sense of suspense – in part the mystery of fatherhood and of children.
“I’ve been shortlisted for major prizes before but it’s just so good to have this step-up in ambition recognised in this way, and it is testament to the faith my publisher Carcanet have had in me over the years. It’s also a tribute to the amazing people I’ve loosely based the book on, their character must somehow shine. There are great writers whose work I love who haven’t got through to be a Finalist this time, so I am particularly proud.”
Kerry Hudson commented: “To say that I am chuffed to bits to be the winner in the First Book category would be an understatement and even more so because it is a Scottish award and Scotland is so much at the heart of this novel.
“Winning a First Book award like this is so valuable to a debut author like myself just starting out and the prize money will enable me to develop my second novel and my Tony Hogan one-woman play, which I hope to tour around the council estates featured in the novel.
“I would like to say a huge thank you to the judges, Creative Scotland and the sponsors, Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust.”
The public are set to help the Judging Panel decide who will claim the top prize as they are invited to read, discuss and get involved with the finalists and vote for their favourite book. Voting will open on 1 October and close on 31 October.
Full details will be announced on the Scottish Book Awards website – www.scottishbookawards.com – shortly.
The Awards selection panel includes Clare English, BBC Radio Presenter; David McCormack of Waterstones; Peggy Hughes, programme director at Dundee Literary Festival; Kirsty Logan, books editor at The List; and Aly Barr, development officer at Creative Scotland.
Awards have previously been made to Janice Galloway for her memoir All Made Up (2012); Jackie Kay for her autobiography Red Dust Road (2011); Donald Worster for his biography A Passion for Nature: The Life of John Muir (2010); James Kelman for his novel Kieron Smith, Boy (2009); and Edwin Morgan for his poetry collection A Book of Lives (2008).
The shortlisted authors were selected from a total of 117 titles submitted by publishers from the UK.
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