Stornoway-based publishing house Acair is delighted with the news that Crann-fìge/Fig Tree by Duncan Gillies has been named as the winner of the Highland Book Prize for 2022.
The winning book was unveiled at an online award ceremony with readings and discussion with all four shortlisted authors before Crann-fìge was crowned winner.
Acair had also had another title on the longlist of twelve, Doras gun Chlàimhean: Murchadh MacPhàrlain, Bàrd Mhealaboist, edited by Catriona Murray.
An Acair title previously won the prize in 2020, when The Changing Outer Hebrides by Frank Rennie was named winner.
Crann-fìge is a bilingual collection of short stories from Duncan Gillies, the author of Tocasaid ’Ain Tuirc. Crann-fìge brings the same sharp wit and observational skill to this evocation of Lewis life and people from last century, intertwined with stories situated elsewhere, and giving as authentic a voice to an angry child’s resentment, a woman’s regret or an old man’s fears.
The Highland Book Prize was established in 2017 and it celebrates the finest published work that recognises the rich talent, landscape, and cultural diversity of the Scottish Highlands and Islands. This annual prize is open to work in fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. Presented by the Highland Society of London and facilitated by Moniack Mhor Creative Writing Centre, the prize aims to bring recognition to books created in or about the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. This is the first time that a Gaelic book has won the prize.
Duncan Gillies commented: ‘I am very gratified and proud to have won this prize.’ Mark Wringe, Senior Lecturer in Gaelic Language and Culture at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, University of the Highlands and Islands, was on the judging panel and he commented on Crann-fìge: ‘Written with confidence and assurance in both Gaelic and English, these short stories have a timeless quality. These light, subtle stories gel to form a cohesive whole, depicting Gaelic culture when it too was whole.’
Duncan Gillies is from Knockaird, in Ness, in the Isle of Lewis and now lives in London. This is his fourth published collection of short stories and the ﬁrst book of his in which Gaelic and English appear together, side by side.
Crann-fìge was launched in November 2022 and has been very well-received. The book can be purchased from Acair at www.acairbooks.com or from bookshops. Alternatively call Acair on 01851 703020 or email
Crann-fìge, Acair, ISBN 9781789071252, 157pp, £10.95