Saltire Book of the Year nominees from the 1980s!


Today we’ve been rooting around the Saltire Society Literary Awards history and decided to have a look back at some names who were in contention for the Book of the Year award in the 1980s. The Saltire awards have celebrated many a writer over the years, and it’s a nice excuse (not that we need one!) to revisit some excellent authors’ careers. What a list!

James Kelman
Kelman was nominated for the Saltire Book of the Year Award no less than four times in the 80s and six more times after that. Titles shortlisted throughout the 80s included Not Not While the Giro, Lean Tales, Greyhound for Breakfast and A Disaffection.

Liz Lochhead
Lochhead won the Book of the Year award in 1989 for Mary Queen of Scots Got Her Head Chopped Off. She was appointed the National Poet for Scotland from 2011 to 2016 for her extensive work in plays, poetry, radio and more. 

William McIlvanney
McIlvanney was nominated for the Book of the Year Award in ’83, ’85 and ’89, one being part of the seminal Laidlaw series, one being a stand alone novel and one being a collection of short stories. He finally won Book of the Year in 1996 for The Kiln. Dubbed the ‘father of Tartan Noir’ he sadly passed in December 2015.

Muriel Spark
Spark’s Collected Stories won Book of the Year in 1987. She was shortlisted for the award four more times since her win. Appreciated for her dark comedic voice and wry observations her work has cemented her as one of the finest Scottish writers.

Iain Banks
Banks’ haunting The Bridge was nominated for the 1986 Book of the Year award. His debut The Wasp Factory put him on the map as an exciting new voice in 1984 and he became known for publishing books incredibly fast under both ‘Iain Banks’ and his sci-fi pen name ‘Iain M Banks’. He passed away in 2013 after a short battle with cancer.

Alasdair Gray
Gray’s Lanark was the epic tome that kicked it all off. Winning Book of the Year in 1982 Lanark was also Gray’s first book. From then on he became a Scottish national treasure building up an epic repertoire in Poor Things, 1982, Janine, Something Leather and many, many more.

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