Alexander McCall Smith kicked things off when he was honoured by Aberdeen Asset Management with their Great Scot Award for his work in literature. Unable to attend Alexander asked our Managing Director, Hugh Andrew, to collect the award with the message, ‘I am extremely grateful for this award. My only regret is that I cannot be here because I had agreed some time ago to do a charity event in Edinburgh tonight that I simply could not call off. I would like to thank the sponsors – and the judges, of course, – for the honour they do me and I am delighted that an old friend, Hugh Andrew, can collect the award on my behalf. Hugh has been my publisher for many years and I am pleased that he is getting an award tonight, even if I intend to take it off him the moment he gets back to Edinburgh. Thank you again.’
The 2012 Garden Media Guild Awards (formerly Garden Writers' Guild) awarded Fruit and Vegetables for Scotland: What toGrow and How to Grow It by Ken Coxand Caroline Beaton the hotly contested Practical Book of the Year prize. Awarding the prize, the judges commented that Fruit and Vegetables for Scotland was ‘A practical book with personality, meticulously researched and impressively informative. It fills a long-empty gap for Scottish gardeners coping with weather conditions that are vastly different to the rest of the UK. But even if you’re not north of the border, the comprehensive growing advice is applicable to all. This is an engaging and enjoyable read that you will return to time and time again.’
And St Andrew’s Day saw the winners of the 2012 Saltire Society Literary Awards announced at the National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh with Scotland: Mapping the Nation by Christopher Fleet, Charles W.J.Withers and Margaret Wilkes taking Best Research Book of the Year. Two other Birlinn titles – Grand Designer: The Third Marquess of Bute by Rosemary Hannah and Scotland’s First Oil Boom: The Scottish Shale-Oil Industry,1851–1914 by John McKay – were shortlisted in the Research Book and Scottish History Book of the Year categories respectively. Aonghas MacNeacail’s bilingual poetry collection Laughing at the Clock/DéanamhGáire Ris A’ Chloc was shortlisted in the Scottish Book of the Year category, losing to Polygon stablemate James Kelman.
Managing Director Hugh Andrew commented, 'The Birlinn team is absolutely delighted that these books and their authors have been singled out for praise in such highly competitive award arenas. We offer our congratulations to Alexander, to Ken Cox and Caroline Beaton, to Christopher, Charles and Margaret and, of course, to Rosemary, Aonghas and to John’s family. Thanks too have to go to the skilled staff at Birlinn who strive for high standards with every book published. These books are all a joy to look at and to handle as well as to read and we are very proud of their achievements.’
And so say all of us!