English - Booking their place

16th April 2010 at 01:00

Three Scottish authors have been shortlisted for the country's biggest literary prize, the Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust book of the year.

The winner of each of the fiction, non-fiction, poetry and first book categories receives pound;5,000 and now has the chance to land a further pound;25,000 and the overall book of the year accolade, which will be announced in June.

John Aberdein, a former English teacher in Orkney and a leading campaigner against the original format of the English Higher Still exam for the Scottish Association of Teachers of Language and Literature, won the fiction category for his second book, Strip the Willow, published by Polygon.

Glasgow-born poet Tom Leonard, professor of creative writing at Glasgow University, won the poetry category for a collection of his work over the last 45 years, Outside the Narrative, published by Word PowerEtruscan Books.

Oxford-based but Scots-born Sarah Gabriel has already won accolades for Eating Pomegranates, published by Jonathan Cape. Now the memoir has won the "first book" catagory. It is an account of her struggle with cancer after discovering she had inherited a mutation of the BRCA1 gene from her mother, who died of the disease aged 42.

Donald Worster, a historian at the University of Kansas, is not Scottish, but his non-fiction category winner - A Passion for Nature: The Life of John Muir - deals with the famous Scottish environmentalist who left a lasting legacy in the United States.

www.scottisharts.org.ukbookawards.

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