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.
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.
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.
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: âThe setting and language of my novel has an unusual cultural epicenter, North Lanarkshire.
âIt’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.
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. . “
Percy said, âFrankly, I’m delighted to be shortlisted.
âDuck 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: âI 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: âIt is a fantastic honor to be shortlisted for Scotland’s National Book Awards.
âIt’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: âThe 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. “