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Sundial Scottish Arts Council Book of the Year 2007 - Winner announced

18/08/2007

Sundial Properties and the Scottish Arts Council are delighted to announce that Dundee University’s Professor of Creative Writing, Kirsty Gunn, has won the inaugural Sundial Scottish Arts Council Book of the Year Award for her novella, The Boy and the Sea. 

The award was presented at a high-profile ceremony as part of the Edinburgh International Book Festival 2007 programme this evening (18  August, 2007). The event was attended by fellow writers, industry professionals and most importantly, members of the reading public from around the globe.

Kirsty Gunn; Photo: Graham Clark Kirsty received a cheque for £25,000 from William Gray Muir, Managing Director of Sundial Properties (£5000 as category winner for fiction and an additional £20,000 as overall winner of the Book of the Year 2007), who commented on the choice of winner... 'I'm delighted that the award has gone to Kirsty.  The Boy and the Sea is a truly remarkable book, its poignant story drifting effortlessly between poetry and prose.  The original aim of the Sundial Scottish Arts Council Book of the Year award was to recognise works of the highest quality across the full range of contemporary literature.  It is truly gratifying to have such a worthy winner in the prize's first year.'

Each category winner also attended the event and read from their winning work. They each received a cheque for £5000:

  • Non-fiction A Lie About My Father by John Burnside (Jonathan Cape)
  • First Book  George Mackay Brown: The Life by Maggie Fergusson (John Murray)
  • Poetry Swithering by Robin Robertson (Picador)

Members of the judging panel for 2007 were:
Elizabeth Laird, author and former prize winner; Dr Robyn Marsack, Director of the Scottish Poetry Library; and Dr Gavin Wallace, Head of Literature at the Scottish Arts Council. The panel worked throughout the year selecting first a longlist and then a shortlist of titles for each category. Following their decision on category winners, the final, overall winner of the Sundial Scottish Arts Council Book of the Year award was selected.

The judges commented:
'The Boy and the Sea is perfectly realised with an economy where every word is beautifully weighted, and internal patterns of imagery and metaphor delicately and deftly woven. It is a novella of consummate subtlety, imaginative daring, and emotional intensity, capturing the anguish of adolescent sensitivity and mystery in an intimate yet elemental story, rendered in a poetic prose of dazzling lyricism. The tension builds towards a climax for which the reader has been perfectly prepared, but which is nonetheless overwhelming, like the sea itself.'

Following the announcement today, posters featuring the winning book and all category winners will be distributed to libraries across Scotland.

Notes to editors

  1. The Scottish Arts Council has been giving its Book Awards since the 1970s. The Book of the Year awards have been made since 2002. In previous years the overall winner received a cheque for £10,000 while shortlisted writers received £2000 each. Previous winners include James Meek (2006); Kathleen Jamie (2005); James Robertson (2004); William Dalrymple ( 2003); and Ali Smith ( 2002). Sundial Properties was welcomed on board as the major sponsor in 2007. For more information visit: www.scottisharts.org.uk  

Contact email(s)

media.office@scottisharts.org.uk

Issued by: Scottish Arts Council

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