Irvine Welsh and James Kelman up for Saltire Literary Award

Irvine Welsh, James Kelman, Jenni Fagan and Maggie O'Farrel will all be competing for Scotland's major literary honours this year.

Irvine Welsh is in the running for Scotland's major book prizes with new Francis Begbie novel The Blade Artist
Irvine Welsh is in the running for Scotland's major book prizes with new Francis Begbie novel The Blade Artist

The Blade Artist, which saw Edinburgh author Welsh revive Trainspotting hardman Francies Begbie, will be up against Glasgow writer Kelman’s ninth novel, which charts a father and son’s road trip through the United States, are among the leading condenders in the 2016 Saltire Literary Awards.

Both are in the running for coveted best Scottish fiction book at next month’s awards, along with Ayrshire crime writer Graeme Macrae Burnet, who is already shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize with his second novel, His Bloody Project.

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Also in contention in the same category are Edinburgh-based O’Farrell‘s love story This Must Be The Place, Lewis author Kevin MacNeil’s The Brilliant and Forever, which charts the efforts of three friends to win their island’s literary prize, and The Sunlight Pilgrims, which charts a remote Highland community’s efforts to cope with freak winter weather.

Shortlist candidates for six different categories have been unveiled, with each winner being announced on 24 November also being considered for the overall Saltire Scottish Book of the Year title.

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In the running for the best first book prize are former Scotsman journalist Chitra Ramaswamy’s account of her pregnancy, lawyer Isabel Buchanan’s book recalling her time working on death-row cases in Pakistan and the first collection from Borders poet Claire Askew.

Non-fiction contenders include Orcadian writer Amy Liptrot’s account of her return home from London to try to beat drink and drug addictions, and James Craword’s study of 20 the world’s “great lost buildings.”

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A a book charting Islay’s little-known Viking heritage, a study of the 19th century Scottish author James Hogg and an exploration of Scotlands relationship with Arctic whaling are all in contention for best research book.

William McIlvanney, Janice Galloway, Kate Atkinson, Sorley MacLean and George Mackay Brown are among the previous winners of the book of the year honour.

Saltire Society executive director Jim Tough said: “Spanning academia, poetry, biography and prose, the sheer scale and variety of writing talent to be seen in the shortlists is remarkable. As always, excellence is evident across all awards and I know the judges will have their work cut out.”

2016 Saltire Literary Awards shortlists

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Saltire Society Scottish Fiction Book of the Year Award

Jenni Fagan, The Sunlight Pilgrims

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James Kelman, Dirt Road

Kevin MacNeil, The Brilliant & Forever

Graeme Macrae Burnet, His Bloody Project

Maggie O’Farrel, This Must Be the Place

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Irvine Welsh, The Blade Artist

Saltire Society Scottish Non-Fiction Book of the Year Award

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James Crawford, Fallen Glory

Richard Holloway, A Little History of Religion

John Kay, Other People’s Money

Amy Liptrot, The Outrun

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John Moore, Glasgow: Mapping the City

Saltire Society Scottish Research Book of the Year Award

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Alan Macniven, The Vikings in Islay

Meiko O’ Halloran

Chesley W. Sanger, Scottish Arctic Whaling

David Taylor, The Wild Black Region

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Sebastiaan Verweij, The Literary Culture of Early Modern Scotland

Saltire Society Scottish History Book of the year Award

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Robin Noble, Castles in the Mist

Kinda K Riddell, Shetland and the Great War

Mike Shepherd, Oil Strike North Sea

Angela Gannon and George Geddes, St Kilda: The Last and Outmost Isle

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James Hunter, Set Adrift Upon the World

Bob Editor Harris, A Tale of Three Cities: The Life and Times of Lord Daer

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Saltire Society Scottish Poetry Book of the Year Award

Kathleen Jamie, The Bonniest Comparie

John Glenday, The Golden Mean

Don Paterson, 40 Sonnets

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Pàdraig MacAoidh / Peter Mackay, Gu Leòr / Galore

J.O. Morgan, Interference Pattern

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Vicki Husband, This Far Back Everything Shimmers

Saltire Society Scottish First Book of the Year Award

Claire Askew, This Changes Things

Isabel Buchanan, Trials

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Chitra Ramaswamy, Expecting

Martin MacInnes, Infinite Ground

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Saltire Publisher of the Year Award

Floris Books

Black and White Publishing


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National Galleries of Scotland

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Saltire Emerging Publisher of the Year Award

Keara Donnachie, Publicity Officer, (Sandstone Press Limited).

Laura Waddell, Marketing Manager, (Freight Books).

Robbie Guillory, Assistant Publisher, (Freight Books).

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Leah McDowell, Design and Production Manager, (Floris Books).

Sha Nazir, Publisher / Art Director, (BHP Comics).