Scotland's National Book Awards Shortlist 2023 Spotlights Edinburgh Talent

Keira Brown
Communications Executive
Edinburgh City of Literature Trust

25 October 2023

Strong Edinburgh contenders for 2023 Scotland’s National Book Awards

The Saltire Society today announced the shortlisted titles for the 2023 Scotland’s National Book Awards which this year include books on climate change, the importance of male friendships, King James VI and deeply personal memoir. Looking at the shortlists, it's evident that we've got great writing talent here in the city, with many writers or publishers based in Edinburgh. The winners of all six prizes, as well as the Saltire Scottish Book of the Year, The Lifetime Achievement Award, The Ross Roy Medal and three industry awards, will be announced at a ceremony in Glasgow on 7 December 2023.

Scotland’s National Book Awards, co-ordinated by the Saltire Society, recognise work across six literary categories (Fiction, Non-Fiction, Research, History, Poetry and First Book) and three publishing categories (Publisher, Emerging Publisher and Cover Design). The Literary Awards see the winners each receive a cash prize of £2,000 and go on to be considered for the top Award of Saltire Scottish Book of the Year, receiving a further £4,000.

Fiction Award – Shortlist

Crann-fìge / Fig Tree by Duncan Gillies published by Acair.

Electricity by Angus Peter Campbell published by Luath Press Ltd.

HellSans by Ever Dundas published by Watkins Media - Angry Robot Books.

In Ascension by Martin MacInnes published by Atlantic Books.

Mother Sea by Lorraine Wilson published by Fairlight Books.

Orpheus Builds a Girl by Heather Parry published by Gallic Books.

Non Fiction Award – Shortlist

Avocado Anxiety: and Other Stories About Where Your Food Comes From by Louise Gray published by Bloomsbury Wildlife.

A Pebble In The Throat: Growing Up Between Two Continents by Aasmah Mir, published by Headline.

Boy Friends by Michael Pedersen published by Faber & Faber.

The Edge of the Plain: How Borders Make and Break Our World by James Crawford published by Canongate Books.

Womb: The Inside Story of Where We All Began by Leah Hazard published by Little Brown Book Group.

History Award – Shortlist

The Material Landscapes of Scotland’s Jewellery Craft, 1780-1914 by Sarah Laurenson published by Bloomsbury.

Majestic River: Mungo Park and the Exploration of the Niger by Charles Withers published by Birlinn Ltd.

One Mans Legacy: Tom Patey by Mike Dixon, published by Scottish Mountaineering Press.

The Whalers of Harris by Ian Hart published by Acair.

‘THE PEOPLE ARE NOT THERE’ The Transformation of Badenoch 1800–1863 by David Taylor published by Birlinn Ltd.

THE EARLY LIFE OF JAMES VI: A Long Apprenticeship, 1566–1585 by Steven J. Reid published by Birlinn Ltd.

Research Award – Shortlist

Mousa to Mackintosh: The Scottishness of Scottish Architecture by Frank Arneil Walker published by Historic Environment Scotland.

Cha Till Mise by Ruaraidh G MacIlleathain published by Acair.

Politics and the People: Scotland, 1945-1979 by Malcolm Petrie published by Edinburgh University Press.

Scotland's Lascar Heritage by Isobel McDonald, Malini Chakrabarty, Emily Malcolm, David Featherstone, Emily Munro, Hasaam Latif, Derek Law, Kulsum Shabbir, Sarwar Hassan, Tareq Abdullah, Aqsa Arif, Aaron Jaffer published by Glasgow Museums Publishing.

French Paintings 1500–1900 by Michael Clarke and Frances Fowle published by National Galleries of Scotland Publishing.

The Old Red Sandstone, or, New Walks in an Old Field by Hugh Miller, edited by Michael A. Taylor and Ralph O Connor published by NMS Enterprises Limited.

Poetry Award – Shortlist

Another Way to Split Water by Alycia Pirmohamed published by Birlinn Ltd.

Burning Season by Yvonne Reddick published by Bloodaxe Books.

Dastram / Delirium by Taylor Strickland published by Broken Sleep Books.

The Swailing by Patrick James Errington, published by McGill-Queens University Press.

Too Hot to Sleep by Elspeth Wilson published by Bent Key Publishing.

First Book Award – Shortlist

Confessions of a Highland Art Dealer by Tony Davidson published by Woodwose Books.

For Thy Great Pain have Mercy on my Little Pain by Victoria MacKenzie published by Bloomsbury.

Ginger and Me by Elissa Soave published by HQ, a division of HarperCollins.

My Margaret, Your Toshie by Keith Adamson published by Luath Press Ltd.

The Maiden by Kate Foster published by Pan Macmillan.

The Two-Headed Whale by Sandy Winterbottom published by Birlinn Ltd.

Lifetime Achievement Award

The Award was open to online public nominations from May until 15 August. The Awardee will be decided by a panel of individuals from the literary community. Previous winners: Alasdair Gray (2019) and Douglas Dunn (2021).

Congratulations to all writers shortlisted for the Awards, we wish you the best of luck at the ceremony on 7th December 2023.