South Scotland

Scottish poet Robin Robertson scoops Walter Scott Prize

Robin Robertson Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Robin Robertson became the first Scot and the first poet to win the prize

Poet Robin Robertson has won the £25,000 Walter Scott Prize for historical fiction.

He is the first Scot to secure the award - given out at the Borders Book Festival in Melrose - in its 10-year history.

His winning book, The Long Take, is written in a combination of verse and prose - echoing a format often used by Scott himself.

Judges praised it as a work written in "compelling narrative verse".

Robertson was born in Scone in Perthshire and grew up in north east Scotland before moving to London.

Image copyright Alex Hewitt
Image caption Judges said Mr Roberston's work made readers "face things we'd rather not face"

His work was praised for its "very particular magnetic force" which drew judges back "again and again, each time marvelling anew".

"The Long Take recounts the inner journey of Canadian veteran Joe Walker as he travels from New York to Los Angeles and San Francisco attempting to rebuild his life after living through the horrors of war in Europe," said the judges.

"In poetry of the utmost beauty, Robin Robertson interweaves themes from the great age of black and white films, the destruction of communities as cities destroy the old to build the new, the horrors of McCarthyism and the terrible psychological wounds left by war.

"Robertson shows us things we'd rather not see and asks us to face things we'd rather not face.

"But with the pulsing narrative drive of classic film noir, the vision of a poet, and the craft of a novelist, The Long Take courageously and magnificently boosts the Walter Scott Prize into its next decade."

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