Andrew Miller (Photo: Abbie Trayler-Smith)
Andrew Miller (Photo: Abbie Trayler-Smith)

Ullapool Book Festival winner is revealed

Andrew Miller’s Now We Shall be Entirely Free has been announced as the winner of the Highland Book Prize at The Ullapool Book Festival.

Alex Ogilvie, Highland Book Prize judge and trustee of the Highland Society of London said, ‘[Now We Shall be Entirely Free] is beautifully written fiction that is bold and challenging, this is as novel that holds your attention taut as the action moves relentlessly North towards the Hebrides.’

Kevin MacNeil, author and member of the judging panel said: ‘The judges were unanimous. Exceptional as the shortlist was, Miller’s novel was simply outstanding. It has elements of Robert Louis Stevenson – adventure, suspense, strong characterisation – along with a wisdom and imagination that is wholly Miller’s. A strange, compelling and beautiful novel.’

From 56 submitted books, to a longlist of 14 titles, prize organisers Moniack Mhor were thrilled with their shortlist of four books, The Last Wilderness by Neil Ansell (Headline), The Valley at the Centre of the World by Malachy Tallack (Canongate), Now We Shall Be Entirely Free by Andrew Miller (Sceptre) and The Assynt Crofter by Judith Ross Napier (Acair Books). The four shortlisteded books represent the finest books published in 2018 with a Highland connection.

The Highland Book Prize was established in 2017 to help celebrate the finest work that recognises the rich culture, heritage and landscape of the Highlands.

Andrew Miller (Photo: Abbie Trayler-Smith)

After a first round of judging by 80 expert readers, the titles were judged by a panel comprising Jenny Niven, Head of Literature, Languages and Publishing at Creative Scotland, Alex Ogilvie, trustee of The Highland Society of London, who have funded the Prize, and author Kevin MacNeil.

The panel worked professionally and sensitively to select the shortlist, creating a list that encompasses memoir, politics, both the historical and contemporary Highlands and current societal issues.

The Highland Book Prize aims to showcase the literary talent of the region and to raise the profile of work created in or about the Highlands.

Presented by the Highland Society of London, The Highland Book Prize is facilitated by Moniack Mhor Creative Writing Centre in partnership with the Ullapool Book Festival. The winning entry received a cash prize of £1000 and a place on a writing retreat at Moniack Mhor.

Moniack Mhor, Scotland’s Creative Writing Centre is based fourteen miles from Inverness, just a stone’s throw away from Loch Ness. The organisation will celebrate its Silver Jubilee in 2018. As well as five-day residential writing courses, the centre runs one off events, day courses and works in partnership with other organisations to help people to enjoy creative writing in all its forms.

The Highland Society of London is a charity, which exists to promote and support the traditions and culture of the Highlands of Scotland, whilst maintaining a Membership of individuals to support the Society’s activities.

The first Ullapool Book Festival was held in May 2005. It was founded by a group of literary enthusiasts in Ullapool Entertainments, the local voluntary arts organisation founded in 1982.