Highland Book Prize Award Ceremony

Nairn Community & Arts Centre,
3 Sep – 3 Sep

Join us for an evening celebrating the finest published work that is created in, or about, the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, and be among the first to hear who will win this year’s Highland Book Prize. This annual award recognises the literary talent of the region, and the rich and diverse work inspired by its culture, heritage, and landscape. You will enjoy live music along with readings and discussion from Sally Huband and James Macdonald Lockhart, with additional video readings from David Greig, Kapka Kassabova and Alan Warner, before the Highland Society of London reveal the winner of the 2023 Highland Book Prize.

Peter Mackay will chair the Award Ceremony.

If you are unable to attend the event in person, tickets for the live stream are available from Moniack Mhor’s website:

David Greig is a Scottish playwright whose plays have been performed widely in Scotland and around the world. These include Midsummer, The Events, Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, Local Hero, and The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart. He is currently the Artistic Director at Edinburgh’s Lyceum Theatre. Columba’s Bones is his first book.

“Greig achieves subtlety and mystery, tenderness and humour in this short, apparently simply told tale that brings this episode in history to life, and makes the simple things in life – sunlight, ale, bees, love – shine.” Judge – Jen Hadfield

Kapka Kassabova is a poet and prose writer and, most recently, the author of Elixir (2023), To the Lake (2020) and Border (2017). Border won a British Academy Prize, the Scottish Book of the Year, Stanford-Dolman Travel Book of the Year, the Highland Book Prize and the Prix Nicholas Bouvier. It was also a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. The French edition of To the Lake won the Prix du Meilleur Livre Etranger (non- fiction). Kassabova grew up in Sofia, Bulgaria, and studied in New Zealand. Today she lives by a river in the Scottish Highlands. Anima is the final book in her Balkan quartet exploring the relationship between humans and their environment, following Border, To the Lake, and Elixir.

“An extremely strong book, that hovers between genres, places and realities. The Mesta valley, its people, its flora and its fauna, are rendered intoxicating, at times suffocating; different voices speaking in engaging and unsettling ways of a long history of settlement and migration, conflict and endurance.”Judge – Peter Mackay

Sally Huband was born in Bristol in 1974. A writer and naturalist, she received a Masters in Conservation from University College London and a PhD from the University of Edinburgh. For her doctorate she combined ecology and ethnography to research the butterflies of hay meadow habitats in the Romanian Carpathians. She is a recipient of a Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award, and her work has been published in Moving Mountains, Antlers of Water and Archipelago – A Reader. Sally lives in the Shetland Islands with her daughter, son and husband. Sea Bean is her first book.

Sea Bean is a magic trick! It brought wave after wave of image, within which the concerns of the book are carried in ways that land with authenticity and compassion. Despite the careful craft in the writing itself, there’s a vulnerability in the text – a readiness to be honest – that makes it all the more affecting.” Judge – Cynan Jones

Alan Warner’s debut, Morvern Callar is a contemporary classic; both it and The Sopranos have been made into famous films. Winner of the Somerset Maugham award, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize and a former Granta Best Young British Novelist, he now teaches at the University of Aberdeen.

“The story of Charlie and his flight through the heather has never been told in such a visceral, haptic and hallucinatory way. Linguistically rich, daring and unnerving this is a captivating and disorienting novel – a work of great skill, a history rocking unsteadily on the waves.”Judge – Peter Mackay

James Macdonald Lockhart is the author of two books about birds, Raptor (2016), which received the Royal Society of Literature Jerwood Award for Non-Fiction, and Wild Air (2023).

Wild Air puts me behind a pair of binoculars! The fine, precise prose keeps each bird right there and visible on the page, while the surrounding natural world feels real and tangible. Some of the scenes JML presents are absolutely unforgettable.” Judge – Cynan Jones

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