Poetry Society Member Kathleen Jamie‘s The Bonniest Companie, described as ‘visionary and profound’ by the judges, has beaten off stiff competition from publications ranging from a true life thriller set in a remote crofting community to an evocative historical account of the Sutherland Clearances and from a first-hand report of life on death row in Pakistan to an exhaustive investigation of early modern Scottish literature to be named 2016 Saltire Society Book of the Year.
The Bonniest Companie is a collection of 51 poems written during the course of 2014, the year of the referendum on Scottish independence. It is a visionary response to influential local and global forces and addresses Kathleen’s native Scotland and her place within it. The judges described the poems as “utterly relaxed and matter of fact yet profound in their implications”.
Kathleen’s extraordinary collection was also named 2016 Saltire Society Scottish Poetry Book of the Year, winning what judges described as an exceptionally strong category with a shortlist that also included works by well-established, award-winning poets Don Paterson, John Glenday, Pàdraig MacAoidh / Peter Mackay, J.O. Morgan and Vicki Husband.
Kathleen collected both awards at a special ceremony at the Central Hall in Edinburgh. Commenting on winning the Poetry Award, she said:
“I’m delighted that The Bonniest Companie has been named ‘Scottish Poetry Book of the Year’, but also a bit embarrassed. It was a terrifically strong shortlist, any of us could have won. Scotland makes very good poets – a fact that’s still not acknowledged as it ought to be. I’m grateful to the judges. It couldn’t have been an easy decision.”
Now firmly established as Scotland’s most prestigious annual book awards, the Saltire Society Literary Awards are supported by Creative Scotland and celebrate and support literary and academic excellence across six distinct categories. The winner of each individual book award wins a £2,000 cash prize and goes forward to be considered for the Saltire Book of the Year award and an accompanying cash prize of £6,000.
28 November 2016