The 2019 Winners of First Book of the Year were

Clare Hunter's Threads of Life 


Stephen Rutt's Seafarers

In late 2020, emerging writer Wanda MacGregor caught up with Clare to see what she had been up to since the Awards in 2019. You can watch the chat below. 

Overlander:Bikepacking Coast to coast across the Heart of the Highlands
By Alan Brown
published by Saraband

In Overlander the reader is taken on a beautiful journey. Humorous and inviting while all the time building a portrait of the atmosphere and beauty of the Highlands, A captivating read which brings something different to the table.

Threads of Life

by Clare Hunter
published by Sceptre  and imprint of Hodder & Stoughton

Threads of Life is a warm and engaging read which intertwines a life journey with the story of needlecraft. The judges felt moved by the range in examples of sewing, embroidery and the community aspect of creating woven works of art. Clare Hunter draws the reader into her world and shows how complex, political and meaningful needle craft is.

Escape from Earth: A Secret History of the Space Rocket

by Fraser MacDonald
published by Profile Books

Engaging and intimate, an effortless blend of research and narrative, Escape from Earth evokes a child-like wonder in the reader. Taking subject material which may have been dry in another’s hands, Fraser MacDonald has created a prosaic story among the stars.

A Superior Spectre

By Angela Meyer
published by Saraband

A Superior Spectre was immensely dark, deeply enticing and profoundly uncomfortable to read. Meyer has created a twisted and complicated character with whom it is difficult to reconcile. Angela Meyer has cleverly crafted an immersive and completely atmospheric work.

The Seafarers: A Journey Among Birds

by Stephen Rutt
published by Elliott and Thompson

This book evokes the beauty and passion of remote coasts and the seabirds that inhabit it.  Rutt opens up this sometimes isolated world to the reader, enticing them to travel and explore more.



Though not shortlisted, the judges wish to give a special mention to:


Blushing is for Sinners
by  Tracy Patrick

Published by Clochoderick Press

Blushing is for Sinners by Tracy Patrick is commended by our judges.

An immersive and enticing debut exploring the history of the Paisley Mills with a delicate touch. This book is full of longing, of interlocked psychologies and real life.  The judges felt they could see the talent bubbling away and look forward to see what Tracy writes next.