Twenty titles shortlisted for Scotland’s largest literary prize

1 May 2012 in Writing

Twenty authors have been shortlisted to win £30,000 in the Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust Book Awards 2012, in partnership with Creative Scotland.

Spread across four categories – Fiction, Non-Fiction, Poetry, and First Book – the Awards recognise and reward the literary talent of authors from or resident in Scotland, or those whose book is of particular Scottish interest.

One finalist from each category will be selected in June.  Each of the four will receive £5,000.  The finalists will then go on to compete for the overall Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust Book of the Year, to be announced at the Edinburgh International Book Festival in August, and the winner will receive an additional £25,000.

Dr Gavin Wallace, Chair of the Judging panel and Portfolio Manager for Literature, Publishing and Language at Creative Scotland, said:

“In this Year of Creative Scotland 2012, the Book Awards – the largest literary prize in Scotland and the fourth largest in the UK – are a chance for us to celebrate and reward Scotland’s literary talent.  As a nation we are replete with literary excellence and rich diversity across all genres, as this year’s shortlist amply confirms.”

The shortlist is:


Alan Bissett, Pack Men (Headline)

Jane Harris, Gillespie and I (Faber)

J M Ledgard, Submergence (Chatto & Windus)

Ali Smith, There but for the (Hamish Hamilton)

Zoe Strachan, Ever Fallen in Love (Sandstone Press)


Bella Bathurst, The Bicycle Book (Harper Collins)

Janice Galloway, All Made Up (Granta)

Roger Hutchinson, The Silent Weaver (Birlinn)

Kapka Kassabova, Twelve Minutes of Love (Portobello)

Emma Rothschild, The Inner Life of Empires (Princeton University Press)


John Burnside, Black Cat Bone (Jonathan Cape)

Angus Peter Campbell, Aibisidh (Birlinn)

Carol Ann Duffy, The Bees (Picador)

Andrew Greig, As Though We Were Flying (Bloodaxe)

J O Morgan, Long Cuts (CB Editions)

First Book

Simon Stephenson, Let Not the Waves of the Sea (John Murray)

Luke Williams, The Echo Chamber (Hamish Hamilton)

Karin Altenberg, Island of Wings (Quercus)

Rachael Boast, Sidereal (Picador)

Allan Wilson, Wasted in Love (Cargo)

In all, over 90 titles were reviewed by a Panel of expert judges, chaired by Dr Gavin Wallace, Portfolio Manager for Literature , Publishing and Language , comprising Alistair Moffat, Artistic Director of the Borders Book Festival; Tom Pow, award-winning writer and poet; Sally Magnusson, broadcaster and writer; and David McCormack, Assistant Manager of Waterstones in Dunfermline.

As with the 2011 awards, book-lovers and readers will have a say in which title is selected as the Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust Book of the Year in a month-long public vote that begins in June 2012.

This is the fourth year the Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust has been proud sponsor of the Awards, which have been running since 1970.  John Scott, Chairman of Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust, said:

“Scottish Mortgage is pleased to be sponsoring the book awards for another year.  The shortlist shows that there is an abundance of diverse talent in print and that Scotland’s rich literary tradition is alive and well.”

Previous winners of the prestigious Award include talented authors such as Jackie Kay for her autobiography Red Dust Road in 2011; Donald Worster for his biography A Passion for Nature: The Life of John Muir in 2010; James Kelman for his novel Kieron Smith, boy in 2009; and Edwin Morgan for his poetry collection A Book of Lives in 2008.

For more information about the awards, including previous winners, please visit

Source: Creative Scotland