Spirit of Scotland awards to honour nation’s golden year

Nicola Benedetti is among those nominated in tomorrow's awards. Picture: PA
Nicola Benedetti is among those nominated in tomorrow's awards. Picture: PA
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IT promises to be a glittering occasion to herald the end of a golden year for Scotland’s rich cultural arena.

From Scotland’s Olympic and Paralympic heroes to big-name musicians, artists, film industry figures and business people, 2012 has already been a year to remember.

Now they are set for an evening in the limelight at the lavish Prestonfield Hotel in Edinburgh tomorrow, when it hosts the 15th annual Glenfiddich Spirit of Scotland Awards.

Dr Gordon Rintoul was named Top Scot in last year's awards. Picture: Neil Hanna

Dr Gordon Rintoul was named Top Scot in last year's awards. Picture: Neil Hanna

The whisky brand’s annual awards, organised in partnership with The Scotsman, have seen the likes of Ewan McGregor, Peter Capaldi, Andrew ­Fairlie, Ian Rankin and Sharleen Spiteri honoured in the past.

This year it is the turn of the likes of singers Emeli Sandé and Julie Fowlis, violinist Nicola Benedetti, authors Ewan Morrison and Janice Galloway, actor Ewen Bremner and screenwriter Paul Laverty to battle it out.

They are among the nominees in the eight categories to be recognised at the gala ceremony, with the public voting on a shortlist revealed in The Scotsman over the past few weeks.

But the panel of judges who drew up the short-list decided to remove one tricky dilemma by ruling that all of Scotland’s gold-medal winners in London should share the sport award.

This means yet another honour for previous Spirit of Scotland award winners Sir Chris Hoy and Andy Murray, but further recognition for the likes of rowers Katherine Grainger and Heather Stanning, and canoeist Tim Baillie.

However the results of the other seven categories are a closely-guarded secret, as is the prestigious “Top Scot” honour, won last year by Dr Gordon Rintoul, director of the National Museum of Scotland. The honour has been previously won by serial adventurer Mark Beaumont, author JK Rowling, football manager Walter Smith and Sir Chris Hoy.

The awards will be presented by another Top Scot winner, broadcaster Kirsty Wark.

Nominees in the food category include the founder of Edinburgh coffee shop, Artisan Roast, Gustavo Pardo, and food writer, Lady Claire MacDonald.

An award will also be given to the business nominee who epitomises Scottish entrepreneurial spirt and another for environmental endeavour.

Authors Ewan Morrison, Kirsty Gunn, Janice Galloway and Ali Smith are all up for the writing award. Screen nominees include Paul Laverty, writer of the Angels’ Share, actor Bremner, Kelly MacDonald, voice of Merida, heroine of Disney-Pixar’s Brave, and the new artistic director of the Edinburgh Film Festival, Chris Fujiwara. Among nominees for the art category is veteran painter John Bellany.

The music nominees include violin virtuoso Benedetti, Gaelic singer Fowlis, Johnny Lynch aka The Pictish Trail and Aberdeen pop sensation Sande.

Ian Stewart, editor of The Scotsman, said: “What makes these awards so special is the fact they recognise people from across the wealth of Scotland’s rich cultural arena.”