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Sundial Scottish Arts Council Book of the Year

Finalists | Shortlist | Judges | Authors

A total of seventeen titles have been shortlisted in the four categories;

Non- Fiction
First Book

This year’s shortlists reflect an eclectic range of stylistic voices and subject-matter from an equally diverse assembly of contemporary Scottish writers.



The Devil's Footprints by John Burnside (Jonathan Cape)
The Devil's Footprints is the story of a man trying to come to terms with a suspended life, and the fear, guilt and unbearable grief that mark it. Revealing what lies beneath the surface of the everyday world, John Burnside has written a novel of mysterious and terrifying beauty - as primal and thrilling as cloven hooves in the snow.

Old Men in Love by Alasdair Gray (Bloomsbury)
 ‘Imagine Lanark meets Something Leather, with a kind of a Poor Things feel to it…’ By this I mean to convey to this novel’s readers, that Alasdair Gray remains, first and foremost, entirely sui generis. He’s the very best Alasdair Gray that we have, and we should cherish his works accordingly.'— Will Self

Day by AL Kennedy (Jonathan Cape)
A superbly realised novel about the brutal simplicities of war - of horror, and the camaraderie found in the closeness to death - and a moving exploration of the complexities of human emotion, Day is a wonderful piece of storytelling.

Girl Meets Boy by Ali Smith (Canongate)
“…Girl Meets Boy is rewriting – and then some. A glorious wide-awake dream of a book that has, right at its beating heart, one of Ovid’s Metamorphoses…By the time I finished the book, my heart was beating and tears stood in my eyes, even as I had the biggest smile written all over my face…” Kirsty Gunn, Observer


Scotland's Books: The Penguin History of Scottish Literature by Robert Crawford (Penguin)
From Treasure Island to Trainspotting, Scotland’s rich literary tradition has influenced writing across centuries and cultures far beyond its borders. Here, for the first time, is a single volume presenting the glories of fifteen centuries of Scottish literature.

The Wild Places by Robert Macfarlane (Granta)
It mixes history, memory and landscape in a strange and beautiful evocation of wildness and its vital importance. In the course of his journeys, Macfarlane’s own understanding of wildness undergoes a transformation.

Hamish Henderson: The Making of the Poet (1919-1953) by Timothy Neat (Polygon)
The official authorised biography with author access to Hamish Henderson’s archive and previously unpublished poems and letters.

A History of Modern Britain by Andrew Marr (Macmillan)
A groundbreaking history of Britain from 1945 to the present day, from one of our most respected journalists.

Auld Campaigner: A Life of Alexander Scott by David Robb (Dunedin Academic Press)
 “Restoring faith in the art of Scottish literary biography...[this] is a revealing study of the man, his work and his invaluable contribution to the academic study of Scottish literature.” --Textualities.net


Gift Songs by John Burnside (Jonathan Cape)
'Burnside's eye has never been clearer, his poetic voice never
more plainly lovely' Scottish Review of Books - Candia McWilliam

Window for a Small Blue Child by Gerrie Fellows (Carcanet Press)
The story of the poet's experience of in vitro fertilisation, a sequence of poems underscored by the seasons and by the biological clock of a woman in her forties as she navigates the risks and choices, the drugs and rituals of fertility treatment.

A Book of Lives by Edwin Morgan (Carcanet Press)
His poems teem with lives and loves and are marked by an unusual love of the present and the future.

Greenfields by Richard Price (Carcanet Press)
Greenfields shows how it was, to grow up in a quiet corner of Scotland, fixing the last decades of the twentieth century in its snapshots.

Bodywork by Dilys Rose (Luath Press)
..a collection of poetry and prose, which focuses on the human body, its weaknesses and strengths, mortality and physiology. This is a daring, exciting, amusing, sometimes salacious, always lyrical, a peep show of poetry.

First book

Morocco Rococo by Jane McKie (Cinnamon Press)
Delicate, layered images distilled to their visceral essentials characterise Jane McKie's award winning poetry.

Shadow Behind the Sun by Remzije Sherifi (Sandstone Press)
For the first time, the horrible events that took place in Kosova are shown from an Albanian Kosovar perspective. In addition, they are put into an historical context that calls into question the accepted notion that the 'cleansings' of the 1990s are entirely a modern phenomenon. Instead, the author insists, they were part of a recurring historical pattern and as such are likely to happen again.

The Brainstorm by Jenny Turner (Jonathan Cape)
 “a splendid piece of intelligent chicklit, in which the need for women to beware of women is caustically laid out for us. Several of its central characters are Scots expatriates; it is also a very Scottish Gothic novel, full of shadow doubles and the selling of souls” Time Out.

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