The Fiction Book of the Year 2019

was Ewan Morrison's Nina X

The Shortlistees were

Bird Summons
by Leila Aboulela
published by Weidenfeld& Nicolson

Three Scottish muslim women travel from Dundee to the highlands, seeking the grave of lady EvylinCobald, the first Western woman to go to Mecca. The book blends elements of Celtic and Arabic folklore and religion, opening up fascinating perspectives on Scottish landscape and history.

You Will Be Safe Here
by Damian Barr
published by Bloomsbury Publishing

A memorable debut novel that beautifully captures the cruel shifts of South African history on the lines of different generations. This story is told with great care and delicacy, and the accumulated emotion is used to deliver an ending that will not quickly relinquish its grip on the reader.

by Polly Clark
published by RiverRun Books

This journey into the last wilderness for a damaged and intriguing heroine goes for the jugular in every way, with a lyrical and visceral evocation of place and people that seized and awed the judges.

Ducks, NewburyportBy Lucy Ellmann
published by Galley Beggar Press

The judges found this a brilliant and brutal, vast and experimental exploration of a woman’s mind. This breaks new ground in terms of its bold approach, and of what it demands from and gives to readers.

Còig Duilleagan na Seamraig (Five Leaves of the Shamrock)
by RuairidhMacIlleathain (Roddy MacLean)
published by CLÀR

Ruairidh Maclean delivers an excellent historical thrilled that breaks new ground in Gaelic fiction. His strong, believable characters, his attention to detail and beautifully rich fluent language draws in the most reluctant Gaelic reader and immerses them in an hugely enjoyable narrative.

Nina X
by Euan Morrison
published by Little, Brown Book Group/Fleet imprint

A great feat of imagination, showing digital modernity through the eyes of a young woman emerging from a lifetime within the confines of a Maoist commune. An incisive and witty critique of both Marist ideology and a 24/7 world of contemporary capitalism.