Jay Whittaker wins Saltire Scottish Poetry Book of 2018


Poetry Society Member Jay Whittaker, from Edinburgh, is this year’s winner of the Saltire Society Scottish Poetry Book of the Year for her first full-length poetry collection Wristwatch (Cinnamon Press).


“It was a huge honour – and very exciting – when Wristwatch was shortlisted for the Saltire Society Scottish Poetry Book of the Year in October. Given the strength of the other poetry collections from Scotland and Scottish writers this year, I was thrilled and surprised to learn the outcome at the awards ceremony on 30 November. It was a face-clutching moment to hear Wristwatch named Scottish Poetry Book of the year.

The judging panel said: “The unexpected vicissitudes of human life are grafted into the natural world – animate and inanimate – creating a deeply personal and moving collection. The poems are alert and humane, even humorous when least expected. For a first collection this is very assured, mature and coherent piece of work.”

I’m very grateful to the Saltire Society, to the panel of judges, to Cinnamon Press for taking a chance on an unknown, and to everyone on the Scottish scene (and beyond) who has supported me along the way.”

The Saltire Literary Awards are supported by Creative Scotland and celebrate books and publishing in Scotland. The prizes are awarded across several categories and the winner of each individual book award wins a £2,000 cash prize. Publisher of the year gets £1,000.

Saltire Society programme director Sarah Mason said:

“From poetry to publishing, fiction to academic studies, extending the length and breadth of the country and far beyond, this year’s Saltire Literary Awards are a testament to the outstanding calibre of modern Scottish literature in all its varied forms. Every one of the individual awards was hotly contested, making the judges’ decisions particularly challenging.”

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4 December 2018