Writer and poet Donald S Murray has won a major prize in this year’s Society of Authors Awards.
Donald, originally from north Lewis but now based in Shetland, won the Paul Torday Memorial Prize for his novel set amid the Iolaire tragedy, 'As the Women Lay Dreaming'.
Sarah Waters, Paul Torday memorial prize judge, said: “Just a few pages into As the Women Lay it’s a book that’s big with beauty, poetry and heart.
“A wonderful achievement, a brilliant blend of fact and fiction, full of memorable images and singing lines of prose.”
Donald was among 32 winners announced today (Thursday June 18).
The awards – which are judged by authors – have a shared prize fund of £100,000, making it the UK’s biggest.
Donald’s award, for author's of first novels who are over-60, came with a prize of £1,000. He said this morning that he found it difficult to absorb that he had won such major recognition.
Society of Authors’ chair Joanne Harris said: “We’ve always said that receiving an SoA Award can be transformational for an author. They aren’t about promoting big corporate sponsors.
“They don’t seek out one big winner and say ‘this one’s best of all’. Each year, they reward the breadth and depth of books and words, and reward authors at the start of their careers as well as those well established.
“This year, as the health crisis makes authors’ precarious careers even more of a challenge to sustain, it is more important than ever to celebrate the work of today’s 32 winners.”
There is a chance to see Donald today at 2pm (Thursday June 18) on https://www2.societyofauthors.org/awards2020/
That event includes music by Ceitlin Lilidh from South Dell and the paintings of Margaret Ferguson.