Scotsman’s Stuart Kelly to join Booker Prize judges panel

Stuart Kelly. Picture: Robert Perry
Stuart Kelly. Picture: Robert Perry
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STUART Kelly, a regular book reviewer for The Scotsman and a former literary editor of Scotland on Sunday, has been selected as one of the judges for next year’s Man Booker Prize for Fiction.

Kelly, 40, will join BBC presenter Martha Kearney, writer and broadcaster Natalie Haynes, and biographer and academic Robert Douglas-Fairhurst as judges of Britain’s most prestigious literary prize.

Chair of the judges for the £50,000 award, which will be presented next October, is Robert Macfarlane, Cambridge academic whose three books about landscape and wilderness in nature have won massive critical acclaim.

Announcing his panel of judges last night, Mr Macfarlane paid tribute to the talents of his four “outstanding” judges, who will start their reading this week.

He added: “We are all looking forward to the ten months, 140 novels and many meetings and conversations that lie ahead of us, as we search for the very best of contemporary fiction.”

Within the Scottish literary community, Kelly is hugely respected as a writer, critic, and one of the most widely read and perceptive cultural commentators around.

He is the author of The Book of Lost Books and Scott-land, an examination of Walter Scott’s cultural influence that was picked as Radio 4’s Book of the Week and long-listed for the Samuel Johnson Non-Fiction Prize.

As well as being a regular guest on Radio Scotland’s book programmes, he is also an indefatigable chair at literary events throughout the country and two years ago was responsible for choosing the works discussed in the “fiction and the avant-garde” theme at the Edinburgh Book Festival.

Only last week, he chaired an event with the writer Ewan Morrison at the Scottish Government’s European office in Brussels.