Scotland’s National Book Awards 2022 Shortlist Announced
By Emma Baigey, Grace Briggs-Jones and Brodie Mckenzie
The Saltire Society have announced the full list of shortlisted books for this year’s Scottish National Book Awards, which will celebrate a winning book across six categories. These include Fiction, Non-Fiction, History, Research, Poetry and First Book. Also awarded at the ceremony will be the Saltire Scottish Book of the Year, The Lifetime Achievement Award, The Ross Roy Medal and three industry awards.
The subject matter ranges vastly this year, from novels based on wildlife within a farm in Stirlingshire, to a pharmacist living in an apocalyptic-proof bunker, to a queer nightclub in the 1930s. Stories span from Glasgow to Constantinople, and genres range from graphic novels to poetry collections andnon-fiction.
Yet to be announced are the shortlists for the three additional industry awards that the society celebrates: Publisher of the Year, Emerging Publisher of the Year and Book Cover of the Year. Crucially, these prizes platform talented and deserving publishers and artists, and increase appreciation for the collaborative effort required to publish a book.
Director of the Saltire Society Sarah Mason said: “Scotland’s National Book Awards celebrate the extraordinary richness in the work of our authors, publishers and designers. The Awards reflect the strength of the literary scene in Scotland today and the 2022 shortlists showcase a wonderful variety and depth of storytelling. Congratulations to all our shortlisted authors.”
Fiction Book of the Year celebrates the best fiction from in and around Scotland, with Scots and Gaelic fiction also being featured. The books have been published by a wide range of publishing houses, showcasing talent from publishers big and small. There are six nominees: Be Guid Tae Yer Mammy by Emma Grae (Unbound), Blood and Gold by Mara Menzies (Birlinn Ltd), Cwen by Alice Albinia (Serpents Tail), News of the Dead by James Robertson (Hamish Hamilton), The Pharmacist by Rachelle Atalia (Hodder & Stoughton) and Young Mungo by Douglas Stuart (Pan Macmillan/Picador).
Non-Fiction features a mixture of Scottish authors or Scottish-centered books. There is a great tradition of non-fiction writing in Scotland and it continues to thrive, making this a much-anticipated award. There are six nominees: Alison Watt: A Portrait Without Likeness by Alison Watt (National Galleries of Scotland), Alternatives to Valium by Alastair McKay (Birlinn Ltd), Homelands by Chitra Ramaswamy (Canongate Books), One Body by Catherine Simpson (Saraband), The Eternal Season: A Journey Through Our Changing British Summer by Stephen Rutt (Elliott & Thompson) and Seven Ways to Change the World by Gordon Brown (Simon & Schuster UK).
The History award recognises the significance of Scotland’s history and heritage with books of Scottish cultural significance being celebrated for their excellence. The award is open to non-fiction books that add to the knowledge and understanding of Scotland and the Scots. The six nominees are: Blood Legacy by Alex Renton (Canongate Books), Mael Coluim III, Canmore by Neil McGuigan (Birlinn Ltd), R.B. Cunninghame Graham and Scotland: Party, Prose and Political Aesthetic by Lachlan Gow Munro (Edinburgh University Press), Slaves and Highlanders: Silenced Histories of Scotland and the Caribbean by David Alston (Edinburgh University Press), Embroidering Her Truth by Clare Hunter (Hodder & Stoughton/Sceptre) and Putting the Tea in Britain by Les Wilson (Birlinn Ltd).
Nominated for the Research category, which recognises books of significant, insightful research are: A Long and Tangled Saga by Bob Chambers (Acair Books), Ainmean Tuineachaidh Leòdhais / The Settlement Names of Lewis by Richard A V Cox (Clann Tuirc), Craftworkers in Nineteenth Century Scotland: Making and Adapting in an Industrial Age by Stana Nenadic (Edinburgh University Press), Recovering Scottish History: John Hill Burton and Scottish National Identity in the Nineteenth Century by Craig Beveridge (Edinburgh University Press), Surveying the Anthropocene: Environment and Photography Now edited by Patricia Macdonald (Studies in Photography) and Scripting the Nation: Court Poetry and the Authority of History in Late Medieval Scotland by Katherine H Terrell (Ohio State University Press).
The poetry award distinguishes new poetry collections and acknowledges the influence of poetry on Scottish cultural life. Nominees include: At Least This I Know by Andrés N Ordorica (404 Ink), Blood Salt Spring by Hannah Lavery (Birlinn Ltd), How to Burn a Woman by Claire Askew (Bloodaxe Books), Polaris by Marcas Mac an Tuairneir (Leamington Books) and The Luna Erratum by Maria Sledmere (Dostoyevsky Wannabe).
Finally, the First Book award celebrates fresh talent, exclusively awarded to books by unpublished authors. In the running this year are: A Sky Full of Kites by Tom Bowser (Birlinn Ltd), I Am Not Your Eve by Devika Ponnambalam (Bluemoose Books), In: The Graphic Novel by Will McPhail (Hodder & Stoughton/Sceptre), Limbo by Georgi Gill (Blue Diode Press), The Second Sight of Zachary Cloudesley by Sean Lusk (Doubleday/Transworld) and The Voids by Ryan O’Connor (Scribe Publications).
All winners will be announced during the ceremony at the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh on 8 December.