Mara Menzies wins at Scotland’s National Book Awards 2022.

Mara Menzies’s Blood and Gold was revealed to be a winner at Scotland’s National Book Awards on Thursday, December 8, 2022.

Scotland’s National Book Awards were founded by the Saltire Society to recognise books by “living authors of Scottish descent or residing in Scotland,” or that deal with “the work or life of a Scot or with a Scottish question, event or situation in 1936. 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. Leila Aboulela won for her book Elsewhere, Home in 2018.

The shortlists for this year’s award were announced on November 13 before the winners were revealed on December 9. Winning in the fiction category was Blood and Gold, Mara Menzies (Published by Birlinn Ltd). Responding to the win the Kenyan Scot said, “I am so overwhelmed at humbled to be part of such illustrious company.” She also thanked her family and friends with a special message for her mother Florence Menzies, her sister Aila, and the African Caribbean elders of Scotland especially Harriet Campbell. “

Watch her full response in the below video;

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.