Mary Queen of Scots author awarded Whitbread

Thursday 6 January 2005

A biography on Mary, Queen of Scots by an honorary Professor at the University of St Andrews, is to be awarded a prestigious Whitbread prize.

The distinguished historian, Professor John Guy, is an expert on the life of Mary, who he considers to be ‘the unluckiest ruler in British history’. His book, “My Heart is My Own” – The Life of Mary Queen of Scots’ (2004) has been announced as the winner of the 2004 Biography award.

Professor Guy, one of five successful authors in different categories, will receive the award at a ceremony in London later this month.

The judging panel, which included the writer and broadcaster Roy Hattersley, commented that Professor Guy’s book was “an impressive and readable piece of scholarship, which cannot fail but leave the reader moved and intrigued by this the most tragic and likeable of queens.”

Professor Guy, who beat over 100 other entries to win the £5,000 prize, will gain automatic entry to the ultimate prize – the 2004 Whitbread Book of the Year. The overall winner will be announced on 25th January, 2005 by a panel of judges chaired by newscaster and honorary graduate of St Andrews, Sir Trevor McDonald OBE. The panel includes actor Hugh Grant and M.P. Michael Portillo.

Members of the public can vote via the Whitbread Book Awards website – – for which of the five books they would select as Whitbread Book of the Year. The other books are: Andrea Levy’s ‘Small Island’ (Novel Award), Susan Fletcher’s ‘Eve Green’ (First Novel Award), Michael Symmons Roberts’ ‘Corpus’ (Poetry Award) and Geraldine McCaughrean’s ‘Not the End of the World’ (Children’s Book Award).

If Professor Guy won the overall Book of the Year award, he would be following in the footsteps of English lecturer, Professor Douglas Dunn, the winner of 1985 Book of the Year for his poetry collection ‘Elegies’. As a category winner, Professor Guy also joins creative writing lecturer, Don Paterson, who won the 2003 Poetry Award for ‘Landing Light’.



Professor Guy was Professor of Modern History at St Andrews for a decade from the early 1990s and is currently a St Andrews’ Honorary Professor and Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge.

Issued by Beattie Media On behalf of the University of St Andrews Contact Gayle Cook, Press Officer on 01334 467227 / 462529, mobile 07900 050 103, or email gec3@st- Ref: John Guy Whitbread 050105.doc View the latest University press releases at

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