Winners of first ever Scots language ‘Oscars’ revealed

Scots Language Awards folk singer Iona Fyfe with awards presenter Alistair Heather
Scots Language Awards folk singer Iona Fyfe with awards presenter Alistair Heather
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Writers, broadcasters, singers, poets and schools have been honoured at the first ever Scots Language Oscars, in the latest addition to the nation’s traditional arts and culture calendar.

The event, which saw 11 awards presented at the Mitchell Theatre in Glasgow, was launched to coincide with the United Nations’ International Year of Indigenous Languages initiative.

The new Scots Language Awards celebrate the country’s original tongue, which dates back around 1,400 years and is thought to have been spoken by almost a third of the population.

The event, backed by arts agency Creative Scotland, the Scottish Government and the Scots Language Centre, has been instigated by Hands Up for Trad, who are also behind the BBC Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year contest, which has been staged for the last 20 years, and the Scots Trad Music Awards, which were launched in 2003.

Among the winners of the inaugural Scots Language Awards were Itchy Coo, the Edinburgh-based publishers of Scots language versions of Harry Potter, Roald Dahl, Gruffalo and Asterix books, who won the best business prize, the Doric Film Festival, which was named project of the year.

Aberdeenshire folk musician Iona Fyfe, named Scots Singer of the Year at last year’s Scots Trad Music Awards, was named Young Speaker of the Year at the new event, which saw the Dundonian author, poet, playwright and musician Gary Robertson named best performer.

The writer award went to Elgin playwright Morna Young, whose first full-length work for the stage, North-east fishing family drama Lost at Sea, which was inspired by the loss of her fisherman father when she was a child.

The North-east singer and broadcaster Frieda Morrison, who was named the nation’s best Scots speaker and the Ayrshire-born writer, broadcaster and activist Billy Kay, took the media award.

The inaugural winner of the lifetime achievement award, which was created in memory of the late Falkirk poet, novelist and playwright Janet Paisley, who died last year, was Aberdeen-born Sheena Blackhall. Kirsty Crommie, of Deanburn Primary in Falkirk, was named best Scots language teacher, while Hawick High took the schools award.

Michael Dempster, director of the Scots Language Centre, said: “We’re delighted to welcome the inaugural Scots Language Awards, particularly during this, the UN year of Indigenous Languages.

“The public use and promotion of Scots is increasingly to the fore all year round and these awards are a very welcome addition to the calendar.”