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This year's names are announced on the longlist for the 2019 Highland Book Prize where winner will receive £1,000 and a place on a writing retreat at Moniack Mhor


By Margaret Chrystall


THE longlist of titles for the 2019 Highland Book Prize has just been announced and the books are are:

Bird Summons by Leila Aboulela, published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson

The Frayed Atlantic Edge: A Historian’s Journey from Shetland To The Channel by David Gange, published by William Collins

Insurrection: Scotland's Famine Winter by James Hunter, published by Birlinn

Surfacing by Kathleen Jamie, published by Sort of Books

The Secret Of The Dark Waterfall by Alexander McCall Smith, published by Birlinn

The Northern Highlands: Landscapes In Stone by Alan McKirdy, published by Birlinn

The Seafarers: A Journey Among Birds by Stephen Rutt, published by Elliott & Thompson

Spring by Ali Smith, published by Penguin Random House

Energy At The End Of The World: An Orkney Islands Saga by Laura Watts, published by MIT Press

Moder Dy by Roseanne Watt, published by Polygon

The Spirit Of The Hebrides: Word And Images inspired by Sorley MacLean by Alastair Jackson and Kenneth Steven, published by Saint Andrew Press.

With 50 publishers submitting books published in 2019, a team of 105 volunteer readers made up of industry professionals and avid readers, had their work cut out to read and score the 88 eligible titles.

With such an abundance of high-quality books, prize organisers had an equally tough job of refining the list down to 11 to represent the best books with a Highland connection in 2019.

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 William Grant Foundation provides funding to encourage public engagement with the Highland Book Prize.

Kevin MacNeil.
Kevin MacNeil.

The first round of judging is undertaken by our volunteer reading panel. The second round of judging will be undertaken by a panel including novelist and poet Kevin MacNeil, Liz Beer of the Ullapool Book Festival, and Alex Ogilvie of the Highland Society of London.

The winning entry for the best work published in 2019 will receive a cash prize of £1,000 and a place on a writing retreat at Moniack Mhor.

The judging panel will announce the shortlist in March 2020, with the winner being revealed in May 2020 during the Ullapool Book Festival.

Kevin MacNeil, judge for the Highland Book Prize said: “What an impressive, engaging and attractive bookshelf the 2019 Highland Book Prize longlist makes! These diverse books are alive with birds and bards, Springs and Winters, geologies and histories, facts and fictions.

"Across the range of books runs a sense of timeliness and interconnection, an understanding that we are bound to the past and to each other rather in the manner that readers and writers are connected.

"I am sure of two things – the longlist is first-rate, and the judges have an arduous but captivating task ahead.”



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