The Saltire Society’s Scotland’s National Book Awards were founded to recognise books that are either by “living authors of Scottish descent or residing in Scotland,” or which deal with “the work or life of a Scot or with a Scottish question, event or situation in 1936. One of the previous winners of these awards was Leila Aboulela in 2018 for her book Elsewhere, Home.
They recognise work in six literary categories (Fiction, Non-Fiction, Research, History, Poetry, and First Book) and three publishing categories (Publisher, Emerging Publisher, and Cover Design). The winners of the Literary Awards each receive a cash prize of £2,000 and go on to be considered for the top prize of Saltire Scottish Book of the Year, where the prize includes a further £4,000.
The shortlists for this year’s award have been announced and there is a writer of African descent in the following category;
- Blood and Gold, Mara Menzies (Published by Birlinn Ltd)
Mara responded to the nomination with the message; “Super honoured, humbled, happy to be shortlisted alongside incredible authors James Robertson, Alice Albinia, @rachelleatalla @emmagraeauthor @douglas_stuart for Scottish fiction book of the year. My mama is proud! A win already!!!! Thank you @birlinnbooks @saltiresociety 🙏🏽😁💃🏾”
Mara Menzies’s Blood and Gold has the following blurb;
Jeda is a girl on the cusp of adulthood, living in Edinburgh; with a white father and a black mother, she feels selfconscious and out of place. Her feelings of alienation allow the stories of the shapeshifting Shadowman, who embodies all that is negative, to feed on her doubts and insecurities. The death of her mother, Rahami, gives the Shadowman an opportunity to control Jeda through her grief and his lies, but her mother’s last gift to her daughter was a box of stories. When the box is flung open, the stories escape, setting in motion an incredible journey.
Jeda learns more about her African ancestry through tales of slavery, cruelty and colonisation, but she also discovers pride and love and sacrifice, ultimately embracing her dual heritage and her unique place in the world. Filled with tragedy, wonder and magic, Blood and Gold explores the themes of loss and oppression, while asking us to examine our own identities, attitudes, and humanity.