The longlist for the Highland Book Prize, announced today, features an expanding range of books in the prize’s second year. The proportion of fiction on the list of fourteen titles has increased in 2018 with Gaelic and crime fiction featuring for the first time. Donnchadh MacGillIosa is nominated for An Còta Dathach and Val McDermid’s Broken Ground and Malcolm Mackay’s In the Cage where your Saviours Hide sit alongside novels by Neil Ansell, Mandy Haggith, Anna Mazzola, Andrew Miller, Donald S Murray, and Malachy Tallack.
The five non-fiction books represent the genres of history, memoir and ecology. The Assynt Crofter by Judith Ross Napier is a ‘life’ of Allan MacRae; Into the Peatlands is Robin A Crawford’s exploration of the many valences of peat; David Ross’s Highland Herald is a memoir of three decades in Highland news reporting; A Richness of Martens by Polly Pullar tells remarkable stories of human-animal interaction on the Ardnamurchan peninsula; and A History of Scotland’s Landscapes by Fiona Watson and Piers Dixon is a richly illustrated book about how human activity has shaped the land we live in. Rachel Humphries, Director of the Moniack Mhor Creative Writing Centre describes the selection as “a stellar list”.
Kevin MacNeil, who will be on the panel for the second round of judging said: “I think we, as judges, are going to have a deliciously difficult task in creating a shortlist, far less choosing an ultimate winner. I can’t remember a recent year in which so many diverse, high quality books relating to the Highlands appeared. It should be a matter of widespread cultural joy and positive consequence that so many terrific books from or about the Highlands are being published every year.”
The longlist in full:
- The Last Wilderness by Neil Ansell (Headline)
- Into the Peatlands: A Journey through the Moorland Year by Robert A Crawford (Birlinn)
- The Walrus Mutterer by Mandy Haggith (Saraband)
- An Còta Dathach le Donnchadh MacGillIosa (Clàr)
- In the Cage where your Saviours Hide by Malcolm Mackay (Head of Zeus)
- The Story Keeper by Anna Mazzola (Headline)
- Broken Ground by Val McDermid (Little Brown)
- Now We Shall Be Entirely Free by Andrew Miller (Sceptre)
- As the Women Lay Dreaming by Donald S Murray (Saraband)
- A Richness of Martens: Wildlife Tales from Ardnamurchan by Polly Pullar (Birlinn)
- Highland Herald: Reporting from the North by David Ross (Birlinn)
- The Assynt Crofter by Judith Ross Napier (Acair Books)
- The Valley at the Centre of the World by Malachy Tallack (Canongate)
- A History of Scotland’s Landscapes by Fiona Watson and Piers Dixon (Historic Environment Scotland)
The shortlist will be announced in March 2019. The winner will receive a £1,000 prize presented by the Highland Society of London and a place on a writing retreat at the Moniack Mhor Creative Writing Centre and will be revealed at the Ullapool Book Festival on May 11th, 2019.