Scotland's National Book Awards
Shortlist Announced


The Saltire Society today announced the shortlists for the 2019 Saltire Literary Awards, as well as two brand new prizes.  This year, for the first time, the Saltire Society will be awarding a prize for Scottish Book Cover and a special Award for Lifetime Achievement.   The winners of all eleven prizes, and the Saltire Book of the Year, will be announced at a ceremony in Edinburgh on Saturday 30 November.





Widely regarded as Scotland’s national book awards, The Saltire Literary Awards recognisework across six literary categories (Fiction, Non-Fiction, Research, History, Poetry and First Book) and two publishing categories (Publisher and Emerging Publisher).  The Literary Awards see the winner of each book Award receive a cash prize of £2,000 and go on to be considered for the top prize of Saltire Scottish Book of the Year, receiving a further £5,000.

The new Lifetime Achievement Award will be given to an individual who has made a meaningful creative contribution to the world of literature.  With the very first Saltire Literary Awards taking place in 1937, the Society decided it was an appropriate time to recognise a body of work rather than one book, something that is not currently part of the publishing timeline.  The Lifetime Achievement Award celebrates a writers’ work in its entirety and comes with a cash prize of £2,000. 

Scottish Book Cover Awardcelebrates the enormous talent Scotland has in book production and design.  This Award and its recipient will exemplify creativity and the relationship between the designer, the publisher and author.  The shortlist for this Award will be announced in early November.


Sarah Mason, Programme Director at the Saltire Society, said:

“We are proud of the fact that the Saltire Literary Awards shortlists celebrate the diversity, quality and richness of books to come from Scotland over the past year. The Saltire Literary Awards have a proud history of celebrating and bringing wider attention to excellence and we congratulate the writers and publishers who have been shortlisted this year.With the introduction of the Book Cover Award and the Lifetime Achievement Award we believe Scotland's National Book Awards truely celebrate Scotland's literary landscape. We look forward to celebrating our shortlistees and winners on St Andrew's Day at our largest celebration ever. 









The Awards have had an eye for early talent with internationally renowned writers including Ali Smith, AL Kennedy, Kate Clanchy, Louise Welsh and Michel Faber being some who have been celebrated by the Saltire Society for their debut books in previous years.    404 Ink, winners of the Emerging Publisher Award in 2017 are shortlisted for Publisher of the Year Award in 2019.  Submissions for the Awards this year have come from publishers across Scotland and the UK and as far afield as MIT in the USA.   All entrants must be born in Scotland, live in Scotland or their books must be about Scotland. 

Shortlisted books for 2019 include Threads of Life (Sceptre) by Claire Hunter in the First Book Category to Dr David Wilson’s My Life with Murderers (Little Brown) in Non-Fiction, seemingly disparate topics but both relevant to current Scottish culture.  Two Gaelic books have made the shortlist - Còig Duilleagan na Seamraig (Five Leaves of the Shamrock) by Ruairidh MacIlleathain (published by CLÀR) in the Fiction category and Seòl Mo Bheatha (My Life Journey) by Dòmhnall Eachann Meek (also published by CLÀR) in the Non-Fiction category.





The Saltire Society has been celebrating the best of Scottish literature annually for over 35 years with past winners including Louise Welsh, Leila Aboulela and Graeme Macrae Burnet. Louise Welsh won the Saltire First Book Award in 2002 for The Cutting Room and, in 2018, she won Most Inspiring Saltire First Book Award Winner by public vote. This special award celebrated 30 years of the First Book Award. Leila Aboulela has now been translated into 15 languages and has won the Caine Prize for African Writing and been Long-listed for the Orange Prize for Fiction. Graeme Macrae Burnet was named Author of the Year at the Sunday Herald Culture Awards and shortlisted for the Man Booker prize in 2015.




Previous winnersof the Emerging Publisher category have gone on to become influential members of the Scottish literary community. 2017 Emerging Publisher winners Laura Jones and Heather McDaid, directors of 404 Ink, have gone on to make their independent publisher a success with a global reach and several members of staff.

2019 will also see the Saltire Literary Awards expanded with more exciting announcements to be made over the Summer.


Sarah Mason, Programme Director of the Saltire Society, said:

The Saltire Literary Awards allow us to recognise the immense talent of Scotland’s writers and the important contribution they make to culture. We are excited to be continuing our public judge opportunity which was a real success in 2018 and look forward to welcoming new voices to the Awards’ discussions.

We are hugely grateful to all of our partners including Creative Scotland, the Scottish Poetry Library, the Scottish Historical Review Trust and the National Library of Scotland. Without their longstanding and invaluable support, these Awards would not be the national platform they are.

Now firmly established as Scotland’s National Book Awards, the Saltire Literary Awards are supported by Creative Scotland.

Creative Scotland’s Alan Bett said:

These high-profile national book awards raise awareness of Scottish writing, writers and publishing, within and beyond our borders. They influence what appears on bookshop shelves, then in reader’s hands. A list of past winners – across diverse forms such as fiction, non-fiction and poetry – demonstrates a timeline of Scotland’s literary talent and features our most exciting writers, such as Ali Smith, Graeme Macrae Burnet and 2018 fiction winner Leila Aboulela.  We wish everyone taking part, across all literary genres, the very best of luck. 


The Literary Awards will be open to submissions of non-fiction, fiction, history, poetry, first books and research until Monday 5 August. THe Publisher Awards will be open until Monday 12 August




You can view some of the photos from our ceremony below.

Click on the right hand side of the image to see the next photo.

Saltire Literary Awards 2018


You can watch the full ceremony below





Scottish Fiction Book of the Year

Scottish Non Fiction Book of the Year

Scottish First Book of the Year

Scottish Poetry Book of the Year

Scottish History Book of the Year

Scottish Research Book of the Year

Scottish Book of the Year