Winners of Scottish National Book Awards announced

The ceremony took place in Glasgow on Thursday night.

Winners of Scottish National Book Awards announced Saltire Society

The winners of Scotland’s National Book Awards have been announced.

The annual awards, presented by the Saltire Society since 1937, recognise writers who either live in Scotland or use the country as inspiration.

During a ceremony in Glasgow on Thursday evening, the Scottish Book of the Year prize was awarded to Leah Hazard for Womb: The Inside Story Of Where We All Began.

Judges praised Womb as a “searingly compassionate, transformational, and aspirational piece of work that is inclusive of all the different experiences of everyone who has a womb”, with “exacting research” as well as human insight.

Former Scots Makar Liz Lochhead was awarded the 2023 Saltire Society Lifetime Achievement Award for her contribution to Scottish literature.

Ms Lochhead began to gain attention for her writing while studying at Glasgow School of Art, and her first book of poetry was published in 1972.

She said: “I am even more surprised than I am honoured to receive this award. I genuinely don’t feel that I deserve it. But then I have been very, very lucky all my writing life – particularly with the timing of when I was first published.

“Very few women poets were being published then and there was a hunger for a female voice. I was a novelty. I am very glad there are at least as many women as men writing and being published today.”

The panel said: “Liz Lochhead is the very epitome of an exceptional and versatile writer who has made an outstanding contribution to the Scottish literary ecology. She has been a literary trailblazer, inspiring generations of young people who study her work, and writers wishing to emulate her authenticity.

Liz Lochhead was given a lifetime achievement award
Liz Lochhead was given a lifetime achievement award.

“Liz has inspired and impacted the careers and creativity of countless contemporary poets around Scotland, and beyond. We owe her a debt of gratitude.”

The Saltire Society First Book of the Year prize was awarded to Victoria MacKenzie’s For Thy Great Pain Have Mercy On My Little Pain, which was praised as “sublime” by judges.

Author Martin MacInnes received the Fiction Book of the Year award, for Ascension.

The Poetry Book of the Year prize was presented to Taylor Strickland for his collection Dastram/Delirium.

Other winners are:

– Research Book of the Year: The Old Red Sandstone or New Walks In An Old Field by Hugh Miller.

– History Book of the Year: David Taylor for The People Are Not There: The Transformation Of Badenoch 1800-1863.

– Book Cover Design of the Year: Thomas MacGregor for Rub-A-Dub-Dub.

– Publisher of the Year: Edinburgh University Press and Charco Press jointly.

– Emerging Publisher of the Year: Grace Balfour-Harle and Melissa Tombere jointly.

Sarah Mason, executive director of the Saltire Society, said: “The 2023 Saltire Society Literary Awards illustrate the amazing talent Scotland has and offer us an invaluable opportunity to celebrate the quality and creativity of the work.

“Each of our award winners and shortlisted authors, publishers, and designers deserves huge congratulations for contributing exceptional works to Scotland’s literary canon. Our judging panel discussions were challenging and enthusiastic.

“Congratulations to all those recognised this evening. The Saltire Society and our partners are thrilled to be able to celebrate, recognise, and raise the profile of Scotland’s literary community in this way.”

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