Feb. 12, 2020

Strathclyde professor is winner of Scotland’s national book awards

An English Literature professor at the University of Strathclyde has been announced as the overall winner of the Saltire Literary Awards, Scotland’s national book awards.

Professor Kirstie Blair – the Head of Strathclyde’s School of Humanities – received the Book of the Year prize in the Saltire Society Literary Awards, as well as winning the Research Book of the Year category.

Professor Blair received the awards for her book Working Verse In Victorian Scotland: Poetry, Press, Community. This book explores the poetry produced in the Victorian era by working-class people in Scotland, studying a wide variety of largely overlooked writers and examining the political, social and cultural aspects of their work.

Speaking about her achievement, Professor Blair enthuses, “I’m honoured to win these awards from the Saltire Society, and delighted that the judges were impressed by Working Verse. The book studies a wide range of little-known working-class writers and poems from across Scotland, and I’m happy that these awards recognise the richness and diversity of the local and regional culture that I discuss, and might help to bring these writers to further attention.”

She continues, “I had fantastic support in writing this book from colleagues in Scottish studies at Strathclyde and the Universities of Glasgow and Stirling, and also from the Leverhulme Trust, the Carnegie Trust, and the readers and editors at Oxford University Press.”

Speaking about Professor Blair’s book, the Saltire Society explains, “The judges found its accessibility in subject and in its writing profound. The fact that it is an important, significant piece of research did not discolour its enjoyability, with laugh-out-loud moments and fascinating facts. The judges felt a warmth from it and to it.”

Program Director at the Saltire Society, Sarah Mason, says, “Scotland’s National Book Awards 2019 have again shown the astounding literary talent of Scotland and we congratulate all our recipients and shortlistees. As well as being a vital opportunity for the Saltire Society and its partners to celebrate and recognise creativity in literature and publishing, the Awards raise their wider profile both nationally and internationally.”

Professor Blair joined the University of Strathclyde in 2016 and became Head of School in 2018. Her main research expertise is in Victorian literature and culture, and she is also developing research and teaching interests in children's literature from the nineteenth century to the present day.

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Content added on 12th February 2020. 

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