Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Stiff competition for new Scottish novel prize

Michelle Pauli writing in The Guardian on Tuesday January 22, 2008

If the bookies are proved wrong tonight and AL Kennedy fails to walk off with the Costa book prize, all hope is not yet lost for a gong for Day. Her second world war novel has been shortlisted for a brand new Scottish book award, the Clare Maclean prize.

However, she is up against some stiff competition for the £3,000 purse, given to the Scottish writer who has "written the best novel in the previous year". Former Whitbread award-winner Ali Smith is in the running with Girl Meets Boy, her contemporary retelling of the myth of Iphis and Ianthe, from Ovid's Metamorphoses, along with fellow Whitbread winner Alasdair Gray for Old Men in Love, a collection of fragments purporting to be the posthumously published work of a retired Glaswegian schoolteacher.

One of Scotland's favourite sons, the bestselling author Iain Banks is up for the
prize, too, with The Steep Approach to Garbadale. Set in the Scottish
highlands, the latest mainstream novel from the author of The Wasp Factory
and the Culture science fiction series (as Iain M Banks) is a family saga
with political overtones. John Burnside, meanwhile, may be better known
for his poetry - he has been shortlisted for the Forward and TS Eliot
prizes and is a previous Whitbread poetry award-winner - but is a
contender here with The Devil's Footprints, his lyrical, brooding novel
about memory, guilt and secrets. Finally, Dan Rhodes is in the running
with his Pembrokeshire-set novel Gold, a funny and touching tale of a
young Welsh/Japanese woman and her annual month-long stay in a small
coastal village.

The prize commemorates the life of Glaswegian Clare Maclean, who taught creative writing and was, according to her partner Mike Gonzalez, "an extraordinary reader".
Gonzalez, who is professor of Latin American Studies at Glasgow University
is joined on the judging panel by Rosemary Goring, literary editor of the
Herald, and Rob Maslen, senior lecturer in English literature at Glasgow
The winner will be announced on March 15 at the Aye Write! festival in Glasgow.
Now in its third year, the festival takes place in the city's Mitchell Library and
features over 200 authors, including Hanif Kureishi, Louis de Bernières,
Tony Parsons, Joanne Harris, Blake Morrison and Hollywood star Kathleen

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