We are delighted to announce that Sally Evans is the recipient of this year’s Outstanding Contribution to Poetry in Scotland award. Sally was selected by the Scottish Poetry Library’s Ambassadors, who produced an initial shortlist for discussion.
Sally’s citation read: “Sally Evans has been a supportive and constant presence in the Scottish poetry landscape for many years. She gave voice to countless poets as the editor of Poetry Scotland broadsheet, 1997-2018. She brought together poets from Scotland, the UK and across the world as organiser and host of the Callander Poetry Weekends for over 20 years. As a publisher at Diehard Press, Sally has edited and published books by many poets over the years, including publishing first collections. She is a published poet and was a poetry editor for the Scots Language Centre’s website.”
Sally said on hearing the news:
“Many years ago I won the very first Ted Slade award for services to poetry, which was managed by Jim Bennett of The Poetry Kit, and I believe has been awarded annually to this day. When I retired from editing Poetry Scotland I was so delighted that Judith Taylor and Andy Jackson wanted to carry it on.
In January 2018, I enrolled at Lancaster University on a PhD course in Creative Writing as a result of which I published my novel about poetry, Wildgoose (Red Squirrel Press) in June this year. By coincidence, I would like the Scottish Poetry Library’s audience to be aware of my novel because it is concerned with poetry in Scotland and the North of England since 1965, including such well known figures as MacDiarmid, Basil Bunting and many other known poets, mingled with the fictional poet cousins whom the story is about. There is further information on the Facebook Wildgoose (book) page.
Many thanks, to the Library and to those who thought of me.”
The other shortlisted, and highly-commended, nominees were:
Ian encouraged, advised, edited, helped to achieve publication for over 30 years. Most Gaelic writers have depended on his language and other expertise, and still do, usually free of charge. Many of these were published bilingually, so Ian also helped take them to a much wider audience also. And he is never a man to put himself forward or into the limelight. Thus many outwith the Gaelic world may not even of heard of him and assume the Gaelic editing just happened by magic.
Ian MacDonald is from the island of Grimsay in North Uist, and has been employed in Uist, Birmingham, Glasgow and London. For over thirty years he worked for the Gaelic Books Council in Glasgow. During that time he sold a good many books and edited a fair number of others, both poetry and prose, whether in Gaelic or English. Ian also translated several, such as Am Mabinogi (1984), the first Gaelic version of the classic Welsh tales, and with Boyd Robertson he compiled Essential Gaelic Dictionary in the Teach Yourself series (2004 and 2010).
Over his lifetime, Les Wheeler has edited Doric poetry collections, written oratorios in Scots, edited the Elphinstone Kist with endless enthusiasm, and visited countless schools in Grampian Region. He is a fine traditional singer, and writes poetry & ballads in Scots. He edited and introduced Ten North East Poets, in the era 1863-1908, preserving their work for the future. But he just as vigorously works to promote the use of Scots, especially with the young. He is the North East’s J.K.Annand, writing in Doric for today on contemporary subjects, and the children of the North East love him for it.
Helena Nelson founded HappenStance Press in 2005 and remains its sole editor. She also writes poetry.
Her own published work began with a pamphlet, Mr and Mrs Philpott on Holiday at Aucherawe & Other Poems, Kettillonia Press, 2001. Her first book, Starlight on Water, followed in 2003 from Rialto Press and was an Aldeburgh/Jerwood First Collection Prize winner.
She writes both serious and light verse. Unsuitable Poems (2005),The Unread Squirrel (2009) and Down With Poetry! (2016) represent her humorous and satirical side, as well as the more recent collection of WrapperRhymes (Branded, 2019). She has performed widely, often provoking mirth.
A former teacher in further education, she sometimes works as an Arvon tutor. She also publishes pamphlets (mainly first collections), and occasional book-length volumes, including first collections for D.A. Prince, Stephen Payne, Fiona Moore and Charlotte Gann.
Gerry Cambridge founded the transatlantic magazine The Dark Horse, still Scotland’s leading poetry journal, in 1995. He is also an essayist, print designer and typographer, with a background in natural history photography. He lived in an Ayrshire caravan for twenty-five years before leaving to become a Brownsbank Fellow in Hugh MacDiarmid’s former home for 1997–1999. He has been a Royal Literary Fund Writing Fellow at the University of Edinburgh (2006–2009) and at Glasgow Caledonian University (2010–2012).
Our Poetry Ambassadors for this year are Sheena Blackhall, Martin MacIntyre, Tom Murray and Martin Malone.