South Scotland

Borders author Claire McFall wins first Scottish teenage book prize

Claire and book Image copyright Scottish Book Trust

A Borders-based author has won the first Scottish teenage book prize.

English teacher Claire McFall, of Clovenfords, took the award for her thriller Black Cairn Point which is set in Dumfries and Galloway.

Teenagers across the country voted her book the winner ahead of Keith Gray's The Last Soldier and Joan Lennon's Silver Skin.

She wins £3,000 for taking the prize set up by the Scottish Book Trust with support from Creative Scotland.

Black Cairn Point is described as a "chilling and atmospheric thriller" exploring what happens when an "ancient malevolent spirit is reawakened".

'Brilliant award'

Ms McFall said: "I'm over the moon that Black Cairn Point has been voted the winner of the first Scottish teenage book prize.

"It's a brilliant award that encourages young people around Scotland to read books about and from their country and their culture.

"But it also encourages them to get involved by taking part in the competitions for readers that run alongside.

"Silver Skin and The Last Soldier are both terrific books, so to know that readers chose my novel is an enormous compliment. This is why I write."

Heather Collins, schools programme manager at the Scottish Book Trust, said the competition had attracted votes from across the country.

'Vibrant industry'

"The prize also creates a platform for Scottish writing talent to be recognized and promoted," she said.

"Claire's novel is a great example of Scotland's vibrant teenage book industry where there are lots of great publishers working with very talented authors like Claire, Keith and Joan and this new prize has allowed us to shine a light on this fantastic offering.

"The benefits of encouraging young people to read, from transporting readers to other worlds to better understanding the one we're in, are limitless."

Creative Scotland's literature officer Sasha de Buyl also offered congratulations.

"There can only be one first winner, but Claire's accomplishment will see the celebration of a new standard of excellence in young adult fiction," she said.

"The first book that moves you as a teenager can completely shape your world view, helping you develop into the person you will become.

"Ensuring that Scottish writing has a place in this stage of young people's reading lives is fantastic and Creative Scotland is delighted to support it."

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