Prize organisers are delighted to announce the 11 books that have been selected for the 2019 Highland Book Prize Longlist. With 50 publishers submitting books published in 2019, a team of 105 volunteer readers made up of industry professionals and avid readers, had their work cut out to read and score the 88 eligible titles. With such an abundance of high-quality books, prize organisers had an equally tough job of refining the list down to 11 to represent the best books with a Highland connection in 2019.
The longlist of titles for the 2019 Highland Book Prize are:
Bird Summons by Leila Aboulela, published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson
The Frayed Atlantic Edge: A Historian’s Journey from Shetland to the Channel by David Gange, published by William Collins
Insurrection: Scotland’s Famine Winter by James Hunter, published by Birlinn
Surfacing by Kathleen Jamie, published by Sort of Books
The Secret of the Dark Waterfall by Alexander McCall Smith, published by Birlinn
The Northern Highlands: Landscapes in Stone by Alan McKirdy, published by Birlinn
The Seafarers: A Journey Among Birds by Stephen Rutt, published by Elliott & Thompson
Spring by Ali Smith, published by Penguin Random House
Energy at the End of the World: An Orkney Islands Saga by Laura Watts, published by MIT Press
Moder Dy by Roseanne Watt, published by Polygon
The Spirit of the Hebrides: Word and images inspired by Sorley MacLean by Alastair Jackson and Kenneth Steven, published by Saint Andrew Press
Presented by the Highland Society of London, The Highland Book Prize is facilitated by Moniack Mhor Creative Writing Centre in partnership with the Ullapool Book Festival. The William Grant Foundation provides funding to encourage public engagement with the Highland Book Prize.
The first round of judging is undertaken by our volunteer reading panel. The second round of judging will be undertaken by a panel including novelist and poet Kevin MacNeil, Liz Beer of the Ullapool Book Festival, and Alex Ogilvie of the Highland Society of London.
The winning entry for the best work published in 2019 will receive a cash prize of £1000 and a place on a writing retreat at Moniack Mhor. The judging panel will announce the shortlist in March 2020, with the winner being revealed in May 2020 during the Ullapool Book Festival.
The Highland Book Prize was established in 2017 to help celebrate the finest work that recognises the rich culture, heritage and landscape of the Highlands. The Highland Book Prize aims to showcase the literary talent of the region and to raise the profile of work created in or about the Highlands.
Mirren Rosie, of Moniack Mhor Creative Writing Centre, commented: “I believe we have a really strong longlist of contenders for the 2019 Highland Book Prize. It’s lovely to see such a range, including fiction, poetry, and young adult. Together, the books address a broad range of interesting and significant topics, including sustainable energy, community, and the geology and landscape of the Scottish Highlands. Discovering these exciting titles has been a team effort with over 100 readers from across the UK and abroad contributing to the judging process this year.”
Kevin MacNeil, judge for the Highland Book Prize said: “What an impressive, engaging and attractive bookshelf the 2019 Highland Book Prize longlist makes! These diverse books are alive with birds and bards, Springs and Winters, geologies and histories, facts and fictions. Across the range of books runs a sense of timeliness and interconnection, an understanding that we are bound to the past and to each other rather in the manner that readers and writers are connected. I am sure of two things – the longlist is first-rate, and the judges have an arduous but captivating task ahead.” Kevin MacNeil
On behalf of the Highland Society of London, Alex Ogilvie said: “The quality and quantity of writing relating to the Highlands continues to increase year-by-year, and I am delighted to see such a diverse and engaging longlist for this third edition of the Highland Book Prize.”
Joan Michael of the Ullapool Book Festival added: “What an eclectic and exciting longlist! And what quality is there. We look forward to the eventual announcement of the winner in our festival in May. But in the meantime, here are 11 great books for people to read.”
For further information please contact Mirren Rosie or Eilidh Smith in the following ways:
Tel: 01463741675 or 07842040165
NOTES TO EDITORS
Moniack Mhor, Scotland’s Creative Writing Centre is based fourteen miles from Inverness, just a stone’s throw away from Loch Ness. As well as five-day residential writing courses, the centre runs one off events, day courses and works in partnership with other organisations to help people to enjoy creative writing in all its forms. www.moniackmhor.org.uk
The Highland Society of London is a charity which exists to promote and support the traditions and culture of the Highlands of Scotland. www.highlandsocietyoflondon.org
The first Ullapool Book Festival was held in May 2005. It was founded by a group of literary enthusiasts in Ullapool Entertainments, the local voluntary arts organisation founded in 1982. www.ullapoolbookfestival.co.uk
The family shareholders of William Grant & Sons established the William Grant Foundation in 2014 as a non-profit association to oversee and direct their charitable donations. The William Grant Foundation is committed to a future where everyone in Scotland has the opportunity to thrive, a belief that is deeply rooted in the core values shared by the family and the company. www.williamgrantfoundation.org.uk