JANICE Galloway last night won Scotland’s most valuable literary prize for All Made Up, her pitch-perfect memoir about her teenage years in early 1970s Ayrshire.
The book is a sequel to This Is Not About Me, in which she described her childhood growing up in Saltcoats with her hard-working mother and domineering elder sister.
Three years ago, that won £5,000 for the best non-fiction book in the Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust book awards. This time, she has gone one better, winning the £30,000 prize for Book of the Year.
Reviewing All Made Up, The Scotsman hailed it as “a wonderful curiosity shop of the mysteries of womanhood, with its rites and incantations, its scents, its bitching, its make-up, fashion, its fallings out and makings up”.
Galloway’s coming-of-age memoir goes deeper than most, clearly showing emotional uncertainties experienced when one’s sense of identity is still not fully formed. The portrait, not just of her own early life but of the two women she shared it with, has such an emotional precision that many critics are already hailing the two books as modern Scottish classics.
On winning the award, Galloway paid tribute to the sponsors for “keeping faith in writing in these extremely testing times for the arts. The judges have chosen a shortlist to be proud of.”
Other writers awarded £5,000 at last night’s awards were Ali Smith (fiction winner for her novel There But For The), poet Angus Peter Campbell for Aibisidh, and Simon Stephenson for Let Not the Waves of the Sea (best first book).