Three individuals from the University of Stirling’s English Studies Division will play key roles at the prestigious Saltire Society Literary Awards 2012 on Friday 30 November, as part of Book Week Scotland.
Every year, the Saltire Society Literary Awards bring attention to the best of Scottish writing. Novels, short stories, poetry, biography and autobiography, history and other works of non-fiction are all celebrated in the literary prizes.
This year’s awards have a particularly strong Stirling connection. Publishing Studies research student, Stevie Marsden, who is the recipient of an AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award, is writing her thesis on the Awards.
As part of her scholarship, Stevie has been given the opportunity to gain first-hand experience of working within the book industry, with involvement in the administration of the Awards at the Saltire Society. To facilitate her research, Stevie also sits in on judging meetings.
Commenting on the experience, Stevie says: “I am honoured to be involved in these diverse and highly influential literary Awards and feel particularly lucky to be able to couple my research with work experience.
“Working alongside those who manage the Awards is not only exposing me to information which will be invaluable to my doctoral research, but also allowing me to gain experience and contacts within the literary prize world. This will benefit my future career in either academia or cultural programs and production.”
In addition to Stevie’s behind-the-scenes role in the proceedings, the University is also delighted by the announcement that Kathleen Jamie, Professor of Creative Writing, has been shortlisted for the Scottish Book of the Year award category, for her book Sightlines.
Kathleen will join fellow shortlisted candidates, Carol Ann Duffy, James Kelman, Ewan Morrison, Aonghas MacNeacail, Alan Warner and Irvine Welsh at the ceremony in the National Library of Scotland on St Andrews Day, where the winner will be announced.
Professor Jamie says: “I'm delighted that Sightlines has been shortlisted, both for me and my publishers, Sort Of Books, because it's lovely to see the work of small independent houses recognised.”
She added: “I'm thrilled that the judges thought my work to be on a par with the other shortlisted writers, all of whom I admire. I would hate to have to choose between these books.”
Stevie’s and Kathleen’s roles in these high profile Awards are reflective of the University’s central position within contemporary literary culture in Scotland. This position is emphasised further by the presence of another Stirling name, Professor Claire Squires, at this year’s Awards. Professor Squires, Director of the Stirling Centre for International Publishing and Communication, was invited to join the Saltire Society Literary Awards judging panel because of her expertise in publishing and her research interests in literary prizes.
Professor Squires says: “The Saltire Society Literary Awards are the most prestigious in Scotland, with previous winners including Janice Galloway, Alasdair Gray, Neil Gunn, A L Kennedy, and James Kelman. With Kathleen Jamie as a shortlisted writer, Stevie Marsden, whose PhD project focuses on the awards, and me as a judge, we have a triple involvement this year. This is a testament to the strengths in Stirling’s staffing and research in creative writing, publishing and literary study.”
AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Awards (also known as CASE awards) are intended to encourage and develop collaboration and partnerships between Higher Education Institution (HEI) departments and non-academic organisations and businesses. These awards provide opportunities for doctoral students to gain first-hand experience of work outside an academic environment. The support provided by both an academic and non-academic supervisor enhances the employment-related skills and training a research student gains during the course of their award. Further information here
The Saltire Society was founded in 1936 to encourage everything that might improve the quality of life in Scotland and restore the country to its proper place as a creative force in European civilisation. It seeks to preserve all that is best in Scottish tradition and to encourage new developments which can strengthen and enrich the country’s cultural life. It has wide ranging interests including architecture, arts & crafts, civil engineering, history, literature, music, and science – and promotes excellence in many fields through a series of national awards.
Established in 1982, the Saltire Society Book of the Year Award is given to a book by a living author/authors of Scottish descent or residing in Scotland (or the book subject must be the work or life of a Scot or with a Scottish question, event or situation). Nominations may be a novel, a play, poetry or other work of imaginative literature, biography, literary criticism or a study of any Scottish issue. More information about the Saltire Society Literary Awards 2012 here