The longlist for the 2021 Highland Book Prize has been revealed.
The Highland Book Prize, established in 2017, celebrates the finest published work that recognises the rich talent, landscape and cultural diversity of the Highlands. This annual prize is open to work in fiction, non-fiction and poetry.
Presented by the Highland Society of London and facilitated by Moniack Mhor Creative Writing Centre, this literary prize aims to bring recognition to books created in or about the Highlands.
A total of 12 titles have been selected from more than 70 submissions for this important literary award, and include auto-fiction, environmental non-fiction, an exploration of Highland slave history, Gaelic fiction and poetry, and Shetlandic poetry.
Many of the submissions engaged with Highland culture, heritage, or landscape. Submissions were also invited from authors, writing on any subject, who were born or brought up in the Highlands or had settled in the area as their home. Each title was reviewed and scored multiple times by a volunteer panel of 180 readers from around the world.
The 2021 longlisted titles are:
- An Seachdamh Tonn | The Seventh Wave, Sandaidh NicDhòmhnaill Jones (Gaelic poetry, Acair)
- Ben Dorain: a Conversation with a Mountain, Garry MacKenzie Poetry, (The Irish Pages Press/Cló An Mhíl Bhuí)
- Borges and Me: An Encounter, Jay Parini (Autofiction, Canongate)
- Deep Wheel Orcadia, Harry Josephine Giles (Poetry, Picador)
- Hiort, Iain F. Macleod (Gaelic fiction, CLÀR)
- In a Veil of Mist, Donald S. Murray (Fiction, Saraband)
- Islands of Abandonment: Life in the Post-Human Landscape, Cal Flyn (Non-fiction, William Collins)
- Of Stone and Sky, Merryn Glover (Fiction, Birlinn)
- Regeneration: The Rescue of a Wild Land, Andrew Painting (Non-fiction, Birlinn)
- Slaves and Highlanders: Silenced Histories of Scotland and the Caribbean, David Alston (Non-fiction, Edinburgh University Press)
- The Stone Age, Jen Hadfield (Poetry, Picador)
- VEEVE, Christine De Luca (Poetry, Mariscat Press)
Each title on the list will now be considered by the judging panel, who will announce the shortlist in March 2022. The winning title will be awarded in May 2022.
Alex Ogilvie remains as chair of the panel from previous years. He is joined this year by judges Jenny Niven, freelance producer and director, and chair of Literature Alliance Scotland; Kapka Kassabova, poet and writer of fiction and narrative non-fiction whose book Border (Granta) won the 2017 Highland Book Prize; and Mark Wringe, senior lecturer in Gaelic Language and Culture at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, University of the Highlands and Islands. Mark will be joined by a shadow Gaelic judge, to be announced soon.
Alex Ogilvie, trustee of the Highland Society of London, said: ‘We are delighted to support the 2021 Highland Book Prize and excited by the depth and diversity of this year’s longlist. Already celebrating its fifth anniversary, the Highland Book Prize goes from strength to strength in terms of the quality of the longlist titles and the engagement by authors, publishers, bookshops, and the reading public.’
Jenny Niven added: ‘It’s always a pleasure to be part of this process as it reveals each time the range and ambition of work being produced – I’m very much looking forward to getting under the skin of this fabulous set of books. The readers have provided the judges with a brilliantly rich and diverse longlist.
‘It’s great to see a range of publishers, from small Scottish presses to the larger international publishing houses. Also wonderful is the range of languages, with Gaelic, Shetlandic, and Orcadian titles featuring so highly alongside English, representing the quality literature being produced right across the Highlands.’
The winner will be announced in May 2022 and will be awarded £1000 prize money and a week’s writing retreat at Moniack Mhor Creative Writing Centre. Other support offered by Moniack Mhor includes awards, bursaries, professional residencies to develop works in progress, mentoring, a Gaelic programme and a programme for young writers.
The Highland Society of London is a charity which exists to promote and support the traditions and culture of the Highlands of Scotland.
The William Grant Foundation provides funding to encourage public engagement with the Highland Book Prize. The family shareholders of William Grant & Sons established the William Grant Foundation in 2014 as a non-profit association to oversee and direct their charitable donations.
Find our more about the Highland Book Prize HERE.