A distinguished poet and senior academic at the University of St Andrews has won the £10,000 top award at this year’s Saltire Society Literary Awards for his biography of Robert Burns.
On the final day of Scotland’s Year of Homecoming, The Bard by Professor Robert Crawford was named Scottish Book of the Year at an award ceremony held in Edinburgh.
Described as an ‘outstanding’, ‘searching and sensitive’ biography in the New York Review of Books earlier this year, Professor Crawford’s critically acclaimed biography of Robert Burns was praised by the judges as “a book that takes poetry and looks at it with a poet’s eye and a poet’s ear.”
The Bard is the first biography written by Professor Crawford, and sets out to strip away the myths that surround the life and work of Scotland’s national poet as well as exploring the verse at the heart of Scotland’s cultural landscape.
The biography was also nominated for the Society’s Homecoming Award, while St Andrews graduate Kirsten McKenzie was shortlisted for Best First Book with her debut novel, The Chapel at the Edge of the World.
Professor Crawford commented, “I’m delighted to have won the Saltire Society Scottish Book of the Year Award and I hope it will win lots more readers for The Bard!”
The awards were presented by Culture Minister Michael Russell who said, “The Awards play a huge part in celebrating Scotland’s literary heritage and the incredible strength of talent displayed by our contemporary writers.
“It is fitting that we applaud this talent on St Andrew’s Day – our national day – particularly when this year’s winning entries reflect the rich cultural, natural and intellectual heritage of this nation.”
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