Scotland’s Highland Book Prize Names Its Shortlist

In News by Porter Anderson

With a £2,000 purse for the winner, four shortlistees are named by the regionally specific Highland Book Prize.

In the Quiraing on the Trotternish, the Isle of Skye, April 2022, in the Highlands and Islands district. Image – Getty iStockphoto: Damien Calmel

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

Winner’s Ceremony: June 6
One of the world’s regional book-award programs that regularly gathers international interest, the Highland Book Prize—Duais Leabhair na Gàidhealtachd—has announced its shortlist.

While the shortlist is referred to as being for 2022, that’s because this is one of the few awards that attaches a year to each cycle based on when the new round started (this time in 2022), rather than on when the winner will be named (later in 2023). Our piece on the program’s longlist, for example, ran in mid-December.

As Publishing Perspectives readers know, this program is a co-presentation of the Highland Society of London and Moniack Mhor. The  Highland Book Prize honors fiction, nonfiction, and poetry that “recognizes the rich talent, landscape, and cultural diversity of the Highlands.”

Organizers point out that the shortlist includes work published in both English and Gaelic. And this program’s shortlist is actually that, a merciful four titles long.

The longlist of 12 titles was drawn from an initial submission pool of 81 books. You may remember that the Scottish-born author Douglas Stuart was on the longlist, following his 2020 Booker-winning Shuggie Bain with Young Mungo, released in April a year ago from Pan Mac/Picador in the United Kingdom and Grove Press in the States.

The winner of the “2022” award is to be named on June 6 in a fully online ceremony set for 7 to 8:30 p.m. BST. One author will be awarded a £2,000 prize (US$2.498) by the Highland Society of London and will receive a writing retreat at the Moniack Mhor, Scotland’s Creative Writing Centre.

Each book accepted for competition ion this program must meet at least one criterion from this list:

  • It promotes or concerns itself with Highland culture, heritage or landscape, or
  • It has a significant amount of activity set in the Highlands, or
  • The author(s) was born/brought up in the Highlands, or
  • The author(s) is a permanent resident in the Highlands
The 2022 Highland Book Prize Shortlist

The longlist comprises six works of nonfiction, three works of fiction, and three of poetry.

Author Title Publisher, Imprint Category
Ali Smith Companion Piece Penguin Random House / Hamish Hamilton Fiction
Tony Davidson Confessions of a Highland Art Dealer Woodwose Books Nonfiction
Duncan Gillies Crann-Fìge / Fig Tree: Short Stories Acair Fiction
Cynthia Rogerson WAH! Things I Never Told My Mother Sandstone Press Nonfiction

This year, Alex Ogilvie retains his seat as chair. He’s joined by:

  • Kapka Kassabovapoet and writer of fiction and narrative nonfiction, whose book Border (Granta) won the 2017 Highland Book Prize
  • Mark Wringe, senior lecturer in Gaelic language and culture at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, University of the Highlands and Islands
  • Peter Mackay, poet, lecturer, and broadcaster, whose 2020 collection, Nàdur De (Some Kind of) was longlisted for the 2020 Highland Book Prize, and who was recently named Bard of An Comunn Gàidhealach at the 2022 National Mod

See also, more book and publishing award stories:
Translator Daniel Hahn To Receive the Ottaway Award
London Book Fair: The 2023 International Excellence Awards
From Yale, the $1.4 Million Windham-Campbell Prizes’ 2023 Winners

More from us on publishing and book awards in international markets is here, more on Scotland is here, and more on the UK market 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.