Scotland’s National Book Awards: The 2022 Shortlists

In News by Porter Anderson

For more than 80 years, the Saltire Society and its awards have ‘inspired culture and provoked responsible debate.’

Image: Saltire Society, Scotland’s National Book Awards

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

Award Winners To Be Named December 8
As you may know, Scotland’s Saltire Society honors excellence not only in literature and publishing, but also in housing and public art.

And in its focus on books, the program has six prizes, plus a Saltire Scottish Book of the Year drawn from those six, as well as a lifetime achievement award. This prize regime recognizes six literary categories—fiction, nonfiction, research, history, poetry, and first book. There are also three publishing categories—publisher, emerging publisher, and cover design.

The literary awards pay each winner a cash prize of £2,000 (US$2,381) and go on to be considered for the top prize of Saltire Scottish Book of the Year, receiving a further £4,000 (US$4,764).

In describing the work of the society, its director, Sarah Mason, is quoted, saying, “Scotland’s National Book Awards celebrate the extraordinary richness in the work of our authors, publishers, and designers.  The awards reflect the strength of the literary scene in Scotland today and the 2022 shortlists showcase a wonderful variety and depth of storytelling. ”

The winners are to be named on December 8 at Edinburgh’s Traverse Theatre.

Scotland’s National Book Awards Shortlist: Fiction
  • Be Guid Tae Yer Mammy by Emma Grae (Unbound)
  • Blood and Gold by Mara Menzies (Birlinn)
  • Cwen by Alice Albinia (Serpents Tail)
  • News of the Dead by James Robertson (Hamish Hamilton, Penguin Random House)
  • The Pharmacist by Rachelle Atalia (Hodder & Stoughton)
  • Young Mungo by Douglas Stuart (Pan MacMillan/Picador)
Scotland’s National Book Awards Shortlist: Nonfiction
  • Alison Watt: A Portrait without Likeness by Alison Watt (National Galleries of Scotland)
  • Alternatives to Valium by Alastair McKay (Birlinn)
  • Homelands by Chitra Ramaswamy (Canongate Books)
  • One Body by Catherine Simpson (Saraband)
  • The Eternal Season: A Journey Through Our Changing British Summer by Stephen Rutt (Elliott & Thompson)
  • Seven Ways to Change the World by Gordon Brown (Simon & Schuster UK)
Scotland’s National Book Awards Shortlist: History
  • Blood Legacy by Alex Renton (Canongate Books)
  • Mael Coluim III, Canmore by Neil McGuigan (Birlinn)
  • R B Cunninghame Graham and Scotland: Party, Prose, and Political Aesthetic by Lachlan Gow Munro (Edinburgh University Press)
  • Slaves and Highlanders: Silenced Histories of Scotland and the Caribbean by David Alston (Edinburgh University Press)
  • Embroidering Her Truth by Clare Hunter (Hodder & Stoughton – Sceptre)
  • Putting the Tea in Britain by Les Wilson (Birlinn Ltd)
Scotland’s National Book Awards Shortlist: Research
  • A Long and Tangled Saga by Bob Chambers (Acair Books)
  • Ainmean Tuineachaidh Leòdhais /The Settlement Names of Lewis by Richard A V Cox (Clann Tuirc)
  • Craftworkers in Nineteenth Century Scotland: Making and Adapting in an Industrial Age by Stana Nenadic (Edinburgh University Press)
  • Recovering Scottish History: John Hill Burton and Scottish National Identity in the Nineteenth Century by Craig Beveridge (Edinburgh University Press)
  • Surveying the Anthropocene: Environment and Photography Now edited by Patrician Macdonald (Studies in Photography)
  • Scripting the Nation: Court Poetry and the Authority of History in Late Medieval Scotland by Katherine H Terrell (Ohio State University Press)
Scotland’s National Book Awards Shortlist: Poetry
  • At Least This I Know by Andrés N Ordorica (404 Ink)
  • Blood Salt Spring by Hannah Lavery (Birlinn)
  • How to Burn a Woman by Claire Askew (Bloodaxe Books)
  • Polaris by Marcas Mac an Tuairneir (Leamington Books)
  • The Luna Erratum by Maria Sledmere (Dostoyevsky Wannabe)
Scotland’s National Book Awards Shortlist: First Book
  • A Sky Full of Kites by Tom Bowser (Birlinn Ltd)
  • I Am Not Your Eve by Devika Ponnambalam (Bluemoose Books)
  • In: The Graphic Novel by Will McPhail (Hodder & Stoughton—Sceptre)
  • Limbo by Georgi Gill (Blue Diode Press)
  • The Second Sight of Zachary Cloudesley by Sean Lusk (Doubleday/Transworld)
  • The Voids by Ryan O’Connor (Scribe Publications)

The Scottish National Book Awards have been awarded by the Saltire Society since 1937 and in 2022 are supported by the National Library of Scotland and the Scottish Historical Review Trust. All entrants must be born in Scotland, live in Scotland, or their books must be about Scotland. The winners of each category receive a bespoke award created by Inverness-based artist Simon Baker of Evergreen Studios.

This is Publishing Perspectives’ 193rd awards-related report in the 207 publication days since our 2022 operations began on January 3.


More from Publishing Perspectives on Scotland is here, and more on the many book and publishing awards programs in the international business is here.

More on the still-ongoing coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.