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23 January 2021

Round up of 2020

18 December 2020

It was a challenging year for everyone but there were many book and industry highlights. Some of them are listed below along with our main events and projects for the year.  



You can get an overview of our year in our latest annual report which covers 12 months from the beginning of December until the end of November 2020. Read the PDF. Our BooksfromScotland and Industry News bulletins give regular updates on books and news throughout the year. You can read the latest ones on our newsletter sign up page



We welcomed eleven new members in this period: publishers Leamington Books, Salamander Street, thi wurd, DC Thomson, Kate Davies Designs, Monstrous Regiment, The Common Breath and Banner of Truth and network members Bookspeed, Laura Waddell (Tramp Press) and Central Proofreading.



Members pitched their books to BBC producers for small screen adaptation and to various festivals.

We worked with Scottish Enterprise to run two training sessions on export for publishers.



This is our Story by Ian Murray (Luath Press) was announced as the winner of the Best Biography or Memoir by a Parliamentarian at the Parliamentary Book Awards.

BHP Comics, Charco Press, Little Door Books, Sandstone Press, and Scotland Street Press were all Scotland finalists in the running for the British Book Awards Small Press of the Year 2020.

18 Scottish writers were awarded grants to promote Scottish writing and culture worldwide by the Author International Travel Fund, a cornerstone pilot initiative of new international promotion service, Scottish Books International.

Publishing Scotland Translation Fund made 12 awards to international publishers to publish Scottish writers.

More pitching: this time to STV producers and Historic Environment Scotland.

Publishers and librarians met up at the annual Publishing and Libraries Day which took place at the City Art Centre.

Publishers took part in a Scottish PEN roundtable event to learn more about defamation reform.



Jenny Brown, Scottish Book Trust and HarperCollins were shortlisted for British Book Awards 2020. They joined Sandstone Press shortlisted for Small Press of the Year (and already the Scotland winner of that category).

During Glasgow Film Festival 2020, Screen Scotland and Creative Scotland brought together professionals working in film and TV and those working in literature.

We ran our first (and last) face-to-face training course of the year: Writing Digital Content



Tolkien's Library: An Annotated Checklist by Oronzo Cilli (Luna Press Publishing) won Best Book at the Tolkien Society Awards 2020.

Cricket 2.0: Inside the T20 Revolution (Polaris Publishing) was announced as The Wisden Book of the Year 2020.

The National Galleries of Scotland exhibition title Bridget Riley won the 'Best Exhibition Catalogue' at the Cultural Enterprises Awards 2020.

The Seafood Shack by Kirsty Scobie and Fenella Renwick (Kitchen Press) won the Jane Grigson Trust Award for New Food and Drink Writers 2020.

The Adventures of China Iron by Gabriela Cabezón Cámara, translated by Iona Macintyre and Fiona Mackintosh, and published by Edinburgh-based Charco Press, was one of the six books shortlisted for the International Booker Prize 2020

The 'Scottish Issue' of The Bookseller featured many of our members.

Generally this month was busy with everyone adjusting to the lockdown and the cancellation of the London Book Fair, working from home and setting up online events and training. We began our weekly news updates for members.



Chris Baker (Fangorn) won the British Science Fiction Award for Best Artwork for a Book for Wourism and Other Stories by Ian Whates (published by Luna Press Publishing).

The contributors to a free eBook - Stay at Home! - published by Cranachan Publishing, were thanked in a motion to the Scottish Parliament.

Members took part in Open Book events with the Booksellers Association and Gardners.

We ran our first online training course (proofreading) adapted by our usual tutor.



Lark by Anthony McGowan won the 2020 CILIP Carnegie Medal. His publisher Edinburgh-based Barrington Stoke is the first Scottish publisher to publish the winner in Medal's 84-year history.

Donald S Murray won the Society of Authors' Paul Torday Memorial Prize for his debut novel As the Women Lay Dreaming (Saraband).

This month's Open Book session was with eBook and audiobook distribution service, Glassboxx.

Writing digital content and copy-editing were run as online training courses.



Witherby Publishing Group, and the Postgraduate Publishing Programmes at Edinburgh Napier University and the Centre for International Publishing and Communication at the University of Stirling launched two Publishing Scholarships for the academic year 2020-21. The scholarships were established to support individuals from under-represented or disadvantaged backgrounds to undertake a postgraduate degree in Publishing.

Cricket 2.0 by Tim Wigmore and Freddie Wilde (Polaris Publishing) won the Heartaches Cricket Book of the Year 2020 at the Telegraph Sports Book Awards. Polaris Publishing had another book - Behind the Dragon by Ross Harries - shortlisted for Rugby Book of the Year at the same awards.

Christine Wilson, Publications Officer at Historic Environment Scotland, and Jack Clark, Owner of The Portobello Bookshop, were announced as Rising Stars of 2020 by The Bookseller.

Grace Balfour-Harle was a winner in the developing specialist skills category of the Printing Charity's Rising Stars. An Editorial Assistant at Beano comic (DC Thomson), Grace used part of her award to attend five Publishing Scotland training courses.

Scottish Book Trust, Publishing Scotland and Scotland's publishers teamed up to bring readers five exclusive lists - Books for Summer - of the best new Scottish picture, children's and teen books around.



Sandstone Press was shortlisted for the Paperback Bookshop Trade Publisher of the Year - one of the IPG's Independent Publishing Awards.

We partnered with the University of Glasgow for a series of three Creative Conversations showcasing the best in Scottish writing.

The Edinburgh International Book Festival went online and so did its bookshop with a special Scottish showcase of publishers and writers. The festival also hosted a Literary Scout masterclass for publishers and a discussion of the Future of Publishing.

August's Open Book event featured Itison.

Members had one-to-one sessions with an export expert.



New Books Scotland Autumn was published online (see the pdf).

Acair published three of the winning titles at the Gaelic Literature Awards 2020: An Tiortach Beag agus Sgeulachdan Eile by Morag Ann MacNeil; Cluaintean Uaine by George L. Murray and Donald Gillies; and Mo Ghranaidh agus an Losgann Mòr by Marie C. Macaulay.

The first of our Autumn Conference sessions involved publishers pitching to booksellers.

Insights for trade publishers was the focus of the September Open Book session.

Online courses in writing digital content, proofreading and copy-editing were well attended by members and non-members.

Harper Macleod ran the first of its online webinars for our members (employment law update).



The Scots Language Awards 2020 saw The Wee Book Company win Scots Business of the Year, The Itchy Coo Book o Hans Christian Andersen's Fairy Tales in Scots win Scots Bairns Book o the Year, and Tippermuir author Stuart Paterson win Scots Writer o the Year.

D-Day Dog by Tom Palmer (published by Edinburgh-based Barrington Stoke) was announced as the Overall Winner of the Children's Book Award for 2020. It also won the Confident Readers category.

Luna Press Publishing was shortlisted for the British Fantasy Award 2020 for Best Independent Press.

Produced by Publishing Scotland to mark the start of the 2020 Frankfurt Book Fair, we premiered Second Nature an 18-minute documentary film featuring five award-winning writers talking on the subject of nature and nature writing today: Kathleen Jamie, Jim Crumley, Chitra Ramaswamy, Roseanne Watt and Gavin Francis.

The first of eight episodes of the Big Scottish Book Club aired on the BBC. Hosted by Damian Barr the series features Scottish writers and writers and books published in Scotland.

Jasper Sutcliffe introduced members to at the October Open Book event.

Online events and online selling was the topic of the second Autumn Conference session.

Frankfurt Book Fair took place online and members got involved - some for the first time.

Harper Macleod ran two online webinars for our members (GDPR and film and tv rights).



Douglas Stuart won the Booker Prize 2020 with his debut novel Shuggie Bain (Picador).

The Shadow King by Maaza Mengiste (Canongate Books) was one of the books shortlisted for the Booker Prize 2020.

Incompleteness Theory in Incomplete Solutions by Wole Talabi (Luna Press Publishing) won the Nommo Award for Best Novella 2020.

One Two Three Four: The Beatles in Time by Craig Brown (Harper Collins, 4th Estate) is the winner of the 2020 Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction.

Meryl Halls, MD of the Booksellers Association, was named FutureBook Person of the Year.

Book Week Scotland was a very busy week. We teamed with the Stay-at-Home! Literary Festival to present six fantastic online events featuring our members and their authors.

We also held our AGM during Book Week Scotland. James Crawford stepped down after 4 years as Chair preceded by 2 years as a Board Member. Kate Gibb of Canongate Books was appointed as Chair and Fiona McParland of APS Group Ltd as Treasurer. John MacPherson of Bright Red Publishing joined the Board and Chani McBain of Floris Books was reappointed to serve a second term.

Online bookshop platform launched in the UK and many members got involved.

Harper Macleod ran two online webinars for our members (funding schems and books as a brand).

The first online further proofreading and copy-editing courses took place and we ran an extra introduction to copy-editing course.



The Bookseller published its list of 150 of the industry's top leaders, innovators and decision makers of 2020. It included a number of industry figures with a Scottish connection: Jamie Byng, Marion Sinclair, Nick Barley, Jackie Kay and JK Rowling.

It was great to see so many members at our all members meeting.

Our slightly delayed Autumn Conference session with Steve Bohme took place in December. It focused on consumer behaviour - what happened before, during and after lockdown.

We worked with Scottish Enterprise to run an International SEO and social media masterclass for members.