literary prizes

AHRC PhD opportunity in association with the Saltire Society

June 12th, 2012 by SCIPC | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on AHRC PhD opportunity in association with the Saltire Society
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The University of Stirling is pleased to invite applications for a three-year Collaborative Doctoral Studentship, fully funded by the AHRC (UK/EU rate) with an additional contribution from The Saltire Society, plus associated expenses, to commence on 1 October 2012 or as soon thereafter as can be arranged.

This studentship will be a collaboration between the Stirling Centre for International Publishing and Communication and The Saltire Society, a charitable organisation in Scotland. The project will focus on the Society’s book awards, which were established in the 1930s, and which were systematically awarded since 1982, as part of the Society’s overall mission ‘to foster and enrich the cultural heritage of Scotland’. Winners have included Alasdair Gray, Edwin Morgan, William McIlvanney, Norman MacCaig, Muriel Spark, Sorley MacLean, Iain Crichton Smith, George Mackay Brown, Liz Lochhead, Janice Galloway, John Burnside, A L Kennedy, James Kelman, Jackie Kay, Ali Smith and James Robertson; in addition to historians, literary critics, and biographers of Scotland, Scottish subjects and figures. The precise scope and emphases of the work will be shaped by the interests and initiative of the successful application in consultation with their academic supervisor, Professor Claire Squires. The successful applicant will spend some of their time based at The Saltire Society’s offices in Edinburgh, working alongside Saltire Society staff on the current Book Awards, liaising closely with Jim Tough and Sarah Mason (Executive Director and Programmes Manager of the Saltire Society respectively) and Professor Ian Campbell (Chair of the Book Awards judges).

Applicants must have a good first degree in an appropriate subject and a Master’s degree relevant to research into contemporary (late 20th/21st century) literature and publishing. A demonstrable interest in literary prizes and modern Scottish writing would be especially welcome, as would an interest in and aptitude for publishing and literary administration.

Eligibility to Apply

In order to apply, you must fulfil both the academic and the residency criteria laid down by the AHRC.

Academic eligibility – you must:

1. Have applied for and been offered a place to study at the University of Stirling (such an offer will be made to the successful applicant for this studentship);

2. Hold a relevant postgraduate Masters degree.

Residency eligibility – you must:

1. Be a British national normally resident in the UK; or

2. Be an EU national normally resident in the UK, the EU or Switzerland; or

3. Have been resident in the UK or EU for the past three years for reasons other than education.

For full details (particularly regarding residency eligibility, which has many conditions and exceptions), please see the AHRC’s Guide to Student Funding:

Further information on the studentship and on the application procedure is available as a pdf here: AHRC_SaltireSociety_CDA_fps. Potential applicants are welcome to contact Professor Claire Squires (claire.squires [@] or +44 (0)1786 467505) with any questions they may have.

Deadline for applications: 12 noon on Wednesday 11 July 2012.

Interviews will be held at The Saltire Society, 9 Fountain Close, 22 High Street, Edinburgh EH1 1TF during the week beginning 6 August 2012.

Saltire Society Literary Awards 2011

December 1st, 2011 by Claire_Squires | Posted in Blog | 1 Comment
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Alasdair Gray's award winning A Life in Pictures

Professor Claire Squires, Director of the Stirling Centre for International Publishing and Communication, has this year been one of the judges for the Saltire Society Literary Awards. The Awards were made today in a ceremony at the National Library of Scotland. She writes here about her experience of being a judge:

For a while now, I’ve had a research interest in literary prizes. I organised a conference on the topic in 2003, at which James F English gave a keynote lecture which would eventually end up as part of his impressive book on cultural awards, The Economy of Prestige. I’ve also written about literary prizes, including in my book Marketing Literature: The Making of Contemporary Writing in Britain. In this, I traced the role of literary prizes in validating books, establishing authors’ careers, promoting literature, and – all important to the publishing industry – selling books.

More recently, I’ve been acting as the administrator (this year, with the able assistance of  MLitt in Publishing Studies student and intern Helen Lewis-McPhee) for the DeLong Book History Book Prize, which the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing runs, and wrote a blog for them about literary prizes over here. Back when I worked at Hodder & Stoughton, I had the responsibility for submitting our books to prizes (and I remember our excitement when William McIlvanney won the Saltire Book of the Year Award for The Kiln.)

But this year for the first time I’ve been acting as a judge, for the Saltire Society Literary Awards. This has meant, since June, reading over 100 books for the First Book of the Year and the Book of the Year. As you can imagine, this proved both a fantastic experience and a challenge, to the point where I actually felt physically sick from reading so many books at one point. (Don’t worry – I’ve recovered and am reading again.)

Today, we made our awards: to Luke Williams for his brilliantly assured debut novel The Echo Chamber, and to Alasdair Gray for his wonderful A Life in Pictures. Awards were also made for the Scottish History Book of the Year to Emma Rothschild for The Inner Life of Empires: An Eighteenth Century History and for the Scottish Research Book of the Year to James McGonigal for Beyond the Last Dragon: A Life of Edwin Morgan. His publisher Sandstone later celebrated with deluxe chocolate brownies, I hear.

The experience of judging literary prizes is always going to be slightly different from that of analysing or commenting upon them, but nonetheless the two awards I was involved with backed up some of my knowledge about how they work. Luke Williams’ publisher Hamish Hamilton confirmed after the ceremony that they’ve brought forward the release of the paperback of his book to capitalise on sales. Fancy a prize winner for Christmas? (I’d recommend it!)

And then: controversy! The judging panel had decided (unanimously) to award Alasdair Gray the Book of the Year. However, just before the ceremony, we found out via his publisher Canongate that he had decided to refuse the award. We quickly reconvened and – although we had a very fine shortlist (including one of my favourites, A L Kennedy’s The Blue Book) – we decided (as reported it) to refuse the refusal. Will this refusal end up having a greater publicity impact than accepting? We’ll see. There’s almost bound to be an article in the Scotsman about it tomorrow…