The second annual Sunday Herald Scottish Culture awards were held on Thursday, July 13 in Glasgow. Nominees from across the arts gathered for a glittering evening of celebration at the SWG3 Studio Warehouse in Finnieston. BBC Radio Scotland’s Janice Forsyth hosted the evening, with welcomes from sponsors Neil Mackay of the Sunday Herald and Iain McIntosh of Napier University.
Scottish writing was recognised in the Author of the Year category and literature was represented across other categories with The Scottish Storytelling Centre nominated for Best Performing Arts Venue and Aye Write, Glasgow’s literary festival, nominated for Cultural Event of the Year. The judging panel included broadcaster and author Stuart Cosgrove and Ruth Wishart.
Poet and playwright Liz Lochhead was honoured in the night’s grand finale, receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award. 2016-17 was a bumper year for Lochhead, who finished her term as Scotland’s Makar, received the Queen’s Medal for Poetry, and premiered a new play Thon Man Moliere at the Royal Lyceum Theatre. Her Makar collection of new poems, Fugitive Colours was published by Polygon (£12.99, hardback). The award was a testament to Lochhead’s dazzling and always popular contribution to Scottish cultural life. Her career clearly defies easy description, but she says herself, ‘when somebody asks me what I do, I usually say writer.. The most precious thing to me is to be a poet. As a playwright, I’d like to be known as a poet in the theatre.’
Lochhead numbered amongst the nominees for Author of the Year along with Man Booker short-listed Graeme Macrae Burnet; Kevin MacNeil, whose novel The Brilliant and Forever (Polygon) was published to critical acclaim and shortlisted for a Saltire Society Literary Award; and Malachy Tallack, whose non-fiction The Un-Discovered Islands (illustrated by Katie Scott, published by Polygon) won the Edward Stanford Travel Writing Award for Illustrated Travel Book of the Year. Tallack and MacNeil were also part of the Edinburgh Book Festival’s Outriders programme in 2017 and will be appearing at Charlotte Square in August. Graeme Macrae Burnet was the category’s winner for the international success of His Bloody Project (Saraband). He sent a video-message of thanks from Russia, where his current book tour had just brought him to Tolstoy’s doorstep.