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Former gang member vying for Scotland’s ‘Book of the Year’ award for his first novel

Graeme Armstrong’s acclaimed debut album The Young Team is in the running for Best Debut Album at Scotland’s National Book Awards.

Armstrong will also face Douglas Stuart, Jenni Fagan, Kirstin Innes and Andrew Greig for the coveted title of Scottish “Book of the Year” at a ceremony in Glasgow later this month.

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Other nominees for the Global Prize include a celebration by Hollywood special effects expert Ray Harryhausen, released to coincide with a major exhibition in Scotland, Peter Ross’s exploration of the hidden stories to be found in the cemeteries and a close examination of former Lothian and Deputy Border Police Chief Tom Wood during the investigation that convicted Buck Ruxton, the “puzzle killer”, in the 1930s.

Jenni Fagan is shortlisted for best fiction book at this year’s awards, for Luckenbooth. Photo: Mihaela Bodlovic

The Saltire Society, which has recognized the country’s best books since 1937, was forced to suspend the event – which rewards fiction and non-fiction writers, poets, publishers and designers – last year after losing its funding from Creative Scotland.

The awards, which will return to the Waterstones store on Sauchiehall Street in Glasgow on November 27, are now supported by The Turtleton Charitable Trust.

Armstrong fell into gang culture in Airdrie at the age of 13 and was kicked out of school in his mid-teens. But he started writing at the age of 16 after reading Irvine Welsh’s Trainspotting.

Armstrong began studying in secret while still involved in his gang and went on to study English and Creative Writing at the University of Stirling.

Graeme Armstrong was among the guests at this year’s Edinburgh International Book Festival.

His novel traces the journey of the main character Azzy over several years as he is forced to choose between leaving his violent world behind or fully embracing the life of a criminal.

Earlier this year, it emerged that the rights to a TV adaptation had already been vested.

Armstrong said: “The setting and language of my novel has an unusual cultural epicenter, North Lanarkshire.

“It’s a part of Scotland that is often overlooked from the outside and still plagued by poverty, drugs and violence. Representing my community at the awards is a privilege rarely granted to young men in my area and a responsibility I do not take for granted.

Graeme Armstrong’s novel The Young Team draws on his experiences with gang culture growing up in Lanarkshire.

Other contenders for the Best First Honor award include Vanessa Harryhausen’s book about her father Ray’s rise to one of Hollywood’s best-known special effects experts, children’s novel A Kind of Spark by Elle McNicoll, on a teenager’s campaign to commemorate the victims of witch trials in her hometown, the memoirs of a Hebridean islander who ended up in a punk band with Peter Capaldi and Craig Ferguson, the Aoife Lyall’s collection of poems exploring the experiences of pregnancy and animal writer Keith Broomfield’s new book If Rivers Could Sing.

Top contenders for the book of fiction include There’s Only One Danny Garvey by David F Ross, Suggie Bain by Douglas Stuart, Luckenbooth by Jenni Fagan, Scabby Queen, and Duck Feet by Kirstin Innes, Ely Percy.

Glasgow-born Stuart won the Booker Prize 2020 with his debut novel Suggie Bain. However, its editors decided to list Suggie Bain in the fiction category rather than in the best first book.

Fagan said: “It is a real honor to be shortlisted for the Fiction Award at the National Book Awards in Scotland, especially since my novel Luckenbooth is so deeply rooted in Scotland and mainly in my hometown of Edinburgh. . “

Kirstin Innes is shortlisted for Best Fiction Book for Scabby Queen. Photo: Becky Duncan

Percy said, “Frankly, I’m delighted to be shortlisted.

“Duck Feet is a novel about hope and growing up in Scotland, and it elicited an incredible response from Scottish readers in particular who really stood up for it. To be considered for this award is the icing on the cake. cake for me. “

Innes said: “I am absolutely delighted to be on this list, especially given the very good company my book is in. Scottish fiction is exceptionally strong right now, so that really means Scabby Queen is seen as a part of it. “

Ross said: “It is a fantastic honor to be shortlisted for Scotland’s National Book Awards.

“It’s an incredible time for Scottish literature with Scottish authors creating brilliant works of art that resonate with people all over the world. To have a book recognized by the Saltire Society for making a contribution in such a context is extremely rewarding. “

Saltire Society Director Sarah Mason said: “The past two years have been tough for everyone, but the strength and resilience that we have seen from our editors, writers and designers is inspiring. “

Vanessa Harryhausen is shortened for the book celebrating her father Ray’s career as a special effects expert in Hollywood.

FULL LISTS FOR NATIONAL SCOTLAND BOOK AWARDS

Book of Poetry of the Year at the Scottish National Book Awards

Peter Mackay, Nàdar De | A kind of (Acair)

Owen Gallagher, Clydebuilt (Smokestack Books)

Thomas A Clark, The threadbare coat (Carcanet Press)

Daisy Lafarge, Life Without Air (Granta)

Andrew Greig, later that day (polygon)

Garry Mackenzie, Ben Dorain: A Conversation with a Mountain (The Irish Pages Press)

First Book of the Year at Scotland’s National Book Awards

Vanessa Harryhausen, Ray Harryhausen: Titan of Cinema (National Galleries of Scotland Publishing)

Graeme Armstrong, The Young Team (Pan MacMillan / Picador)

Elle McNicoll, kind of a spark (Knights Of)

Roddy Murray, Bleak: The Socialite Comedy (Saraband)

Aoife Lyall, Mother, Nature (Bloodaxe Books)

Keith Broomfield, If Rivers Could Sing (Tippermuir Books)

Fiction Book of the Year at the Scottish National Book Awards

David F Ross, There Is Only One Danny Garvey (Orenda Books)

Douglas Stuart, Suggie Bain (Pan Macmillan / Picador)

Jenni Fagan, Luckenbooth (Penguin Randomhouse)

Kirstin Innes, Scabby Queen (Fourth Estate, HarperCollins)

Ely Percy, Duck Feet (Monstrous Regiment Publishing Ltd)

Non-Fictional Book of the Year at Scotland’s National Book Awards

Patrick Laurie, Native: Life in a Vanishing Landscape (Berlinn Ltd)

Cal Flyn, Isles of Abandonment (William Collins)

Tom Wood, Ruxton: The First Modern Murder (Ringwood Publishing)

Shelly Klein, The See-Through House: My Father in Full Color (Chatto & Windus, Vintage, Penguin Randomhouse UK)

Peter Ross, A Tomb With a View (Headline Publishing Group)

Joe Donnelly, checkpoint (404 ink)

Special mention:

Kenneth Roy, In Case of News (ICS Books)

Scotland National Book Awards Research Book of the Year

supported by the National Library of Scotland.

Wilson McLeod, Gaelic in Scotland: Policies, Movements, Ideologies (Edinburgh University Press)

Ian Armit & Lindsey Buster, Darkness Visible: The Sculptor’s Cave, Covesea, from the Bronze Age to the Picts (Society of Antiquaries of Scotland)

Frank Rennie, The Changing Outer Hebrides (Acair)

Nigel Leask, Stepping Westward: Writing the Highland Tour c 1720-1830 (Oxford University Press)

Richard Whatmore, Terrorists, Anarchists and Republicans: Genevans and Irishmen in Revolutionary Times (Princeton University Press)

The Saltire Scottish History Book of the Year Award supported by the Scottish Historical Review Trust.

Ness Historical Society Editorial Team with Rachel Barrowman, History with Heart and Soul (Acair)

Ewan Biggs, Coal Country: The Meaning and Memory of Deindustrialization in Postwar Scotland (University of London Press)

Laura Stewart and Janay Nugent, Union and Revolution: Scotland and Beyond 1625 – 1745 (Edinburgh University Press)

Fiona Edmonds, Gaelic Influence in the Kingdom of Northumbria: The Golden Age and the Viking Age (Boydell & Brewer)

Richard Oram, David I: King of Scots 1124 – 1153 (Berlinn Ltd)

Maria Hayward, Stuart Style: Monarchy, Dress and the Scottish Male Elite (Yale University Press)

List of finalists for the Calum Macdonald Memorial Award:

Stichill Marigold

Broken sleep

Roncadora press

Tapsaltery

Stewed Rhubarb

Press Mariscat

Edition price

Scottish National Book Awards Editor of the Year in partnership with Publishing Scotland.

Heather McDaid, 404 Ink

Jean Findlay, Scotland Street Press

Samuel McDowell, Charco Press

Melissa Tombere, Canongate Books

Scotland’s National Book Awards Emerging Publisher of the Year in partnership with Publishing Scotland

Bethany Ferguson, Rights Manager, Canongate Books

Jamie Norman, Campaign Manager, Canongate Books

Ceris Jones, Campaign Manager, Sandstone Press

Louise Hutton, Associate Editor, Edinburgh University Press

Cover of Book of the Year at Scotland’s National Book Awards

Craig Paton, Killtopia – Dave Cook (BHP Comics)

Cavan Convery & Ryan McGoverne, It’s About Time – Lesley Storm (Leamington Books)

Iain McIntosh (Illustrations), Abigail Salvesen (Design), In a Time of Distance – Alexander McCall Smith (Polygon, an imprint of Berlinn)

Andrew Latimer, Apocalypse: An Anthology – Edited by James Keery (Carcanet Press)

Pablo Font, Fate – Jorge Consiglio (Charco Press)

Pablo Font, The Adventures of China Iron – Gabriela Cabezón Cámara (Charco Press)


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Margarita W. Wilson

The author Margarita W. Wilson