Tuesday, August 21, 2007


This story from The Scotsman:

A NEW Zealand-born academic has won one of Scotland's most prestigious literary prizes.
Kirsty Gunn was last night announced as the inaugural winner of the Sundial Scottish Arts Council Book of the Year award.
The professor of creative writing at Dundee University was awarded the honour for her acclaimed novella The Boy And The Sea.
The announcement was made at a high-profile ceremony at the Edinburgh International Book Festival.
Gunn was presented with a cheque for £25,000 by William Gray Muir, managing director of Sundial Properties.
He said: "I am delighted that the award has gone to Kirsty Gunn. The Boy And The Sea is a truly remarkable book, with its poignant story drifting effortlessly between poetry and prose.
"The original aim of this book of the year award was to recognise works of the highest quality across the full range of contemporary literature.
"It is truly gratifying to have such a worthy winner in the first year of the prize."

A spokeswoman for the judging panel, which included author Elizabeth Laird, Dr Robyn Marsack, director of the Scottish Poetry Library, and Dr Gavin Wallace, head of literature at the Scottish Arts Council, said: "The Boy And The Sea is perfectly realised, with an economy where every word is beautifully weighted, and internal patterns of imagery and metaphor delicately and deftly woven.
"It is a novella of consummate subtlety, imaginative daring and emotional intensity, capturing the anguish of adolescent sensitivity and mystery in an intimate yet elemental story, rendered in a poetic prose of dazzling lyricism. The tension builds towards a climax for which the reader has been perfectly prepared, but which is nonetheless overwhelming, like the sea itself."
The other books that were short-listed for the award were A Lie About My Father by John Burnside, George Mackay Brown: The Life by Maggie Fergusson and Swithering by Robin Robertson.
Each short-listed contender received a prize of £5,000 and attended the Charlotte Square ceremony to read an extract from their work.
Posters featuring the winning book and all category winners will be distributed to libraries across Scotland.

Gunn was born in New Zealand and educated at Wellington's Victoria University and Oxford.
After moving to London, she worked as a freelance journalist. Her fiction includes the acclaimed Rain, the story of an adolescent girl and the break-up of her family, for which she won a London Arts Board Literature Award in 1994; The Keepsake, a fragmented narrative of a young woman recalling painful memories; and Featherstone, a story concerned with love in all its variety.
Her short stories have been included in many anthologies, including The Junky's Christmas And Other Yuletide Stories and The Faber Book Of Contemporary Stories About Childhood. Gunn is also the author of This Place You Return To Is Home, a collection of short stories. Her latest books are The Boy And The Sea and 44 Things, a book of personal reflections over the course of one year.

1. Dragonhead, China / 3:05am 19 Aug 2007
Another Kiwi with obvious Scots ancestors! The Kiwis have just opened an Exhibition on things Scottish at their National Museum 'Te Papa', in Wellington. 50% of New Zealanders have some claim to Scots forebearers! Is that where all the good ones went?heh heh heh
2. Lynn, Madison, Wisconsin, USA
"A NEW Zealand-born academic has won one of Scotland's most prestigious literary prizes.
Kirsty Gunn was last night announced as the inaugural winner of the Sundial Scottish Arts Council Book of the Year award. "
One of Scotland's most prestigious literary prizes? She's the inaugural winner, which, according to my dictionary, means the first one. How does that make it "one of Scotland's most prestigious literary prizes."?
Doesn't make too much sense to me, unless by prestigious, you're only looking at the monetary award.
3. Rankbadyin, Palmerston North, NZ
Och Lynn, ye arnae jeelous, ur ye? Whit's wrang wi' prestige an' a few bawbees?

4. Bookseller, Edinburgh
Congratulations Kirsty!
Lynn - it's one of Scotland's most prestigious literary prizes because it's the Scottish Arts Council who award it - the SAC are the main funding body for all artistic endeavours in Scotland, so an award from them recognising your book as the best Scottish novel of the year is about as prestigious an honour as can be received within our small borders. And yes, I bet that 25 grand will help to fund the next novel!

5. Nectar, Edinburgh

It's inaugural in that the awards have a new sponsor (Sundial)this year. The SAC have been running them since

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