Leading American academic and historian Donald Worster has been awarded the Book of the Year Award for his biography A Passion for Nature: The Life of John Muir at the Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust Book Awards. Donald Worster will receive a total of £30,000 in recognition of his literary talent, and the significance of his biography, which positions John Muir as a national icon for Scotland and a figure of global significance for concern about the environment.
Donald Worster said: “John Muir, a native of Scotland and an immigrant to the United States, was one of the founders of modern environmentalism. This generous book award will, I hope, help introduce his life and achievements to modern Scots and inspire everywhere a deeper concern for saving the planet's ecology.”
Restoring Scotland’s prophet of green politics and conservation to the world at a time when, arguably, it needs him most, Donald Worster has been praised for his “subtle understanding of Scottish sensibilities” by the panel of judges. Panel chair Dr Gavin Wallace, Head of Literature, Scottish Arts Council added: “A Passion for Nature: The Life of John Muir is beautifully written, deeply accessible and should be in every Scottish home and classroom, next to the poetry of Robert Burns. John Muir is one of history's greatest evangelists for the natural world, and his life and achievements as an architect of conservation should be understood and valued by every Scot. The revelations triggered by the book’s huge insight and relevance for today’s global society inspired intense debate amongst the judges, and its sheer ‘worldliness’ solidly secured its selection as Book of the Year.” The judging panel comprised Catherine Lockerbie, Kirsty Gunn and Pat Kane.
Minister for Culture and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop said:
“The Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust Book Awards is a highlight in the literary calendar, showcasing the wealth of writing talent Scotland has to offer. Since 1972 the awards have successfully captured the quality and scope of literature produced in Scotland and this year is no exception. Each of the winning books offers a unique perspective of Scotland and will remain a rich and rewarding element of our cultural landscape.”
John Scott, Chairman of Scottish Mortgage said “Scottish Mortgage - as one of Scotland's leading investment trusts - is again very pleased to be supporting one of the UK’s most important book awards. The Book of the Year award plays an important part in encouraging talent and excellence across the spectrum of Scottish writing”
Donald Worster was selected winner of the Non-Fiction category, and was shortlisted alongside Fiction winner Strip the Willow by John Aberdein, the Poetry winner Tom Leonard’s Outside the Narrative, and First Book winner Sarah Gabriel’s Eating Pomegranates.
Images of Donald Worster and category shortlists will be available from 5PM FRIDAY 18 JUNE, and can be downloaded here.
Donald Worster will be in Scotland, at the Borders Book Festival and available for comment or interview from Friday 18th – Saturday 20th June 2010.