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Features / Tallack wins new writer award

Writer Malachy Tallack.

TALENTED local writer Malachy Tallack has won one of the Scottish Book Trust’s new writer awards for 2014.

He is one of 11 writers chosen from over 300 entries and will receive £2,000 in cash, along with a tailored package including mentoring from writers and industry professionals.

The panel included Scots Makar Liz Lochhead, Shetland-based poet Jen Hadfield and authors including Doug Johnston, Jenni Fagan and Keith Gray.

Tallack, a former editor of Shetland Life magazine who now edits the online magazine Island Review, is currently working on a non-fiction book called Sixty Degrees North.

It focuses on some of the places and communities, including Shetland, which lie 60 degrees north of the equator. In recent years he has travelled to Greenland, Canada, Alaska, Russia and Finland for research purposes.

33 year old Tallack received a bursary from Creative Scotland last autumn, and is now based in Glasgow where he is working full time on the project.

Recipients of the Scottish Book Trust award will also attend a week-long retreat at Cove Park in Helensburgh, providing them with time and space to work in idyllic surroundings.

Last year Tallack signed with Scotland’s top literary agent Jenny Brown, who represents revered authors such as Alasdair Gray and William McIlvanney.

He is also an established singer songwriter and recently released the EP Leaving My Old Self Behind.

“I’m absolutely delighted to receive this award,” Tallack said. “It means a great deal to have the support of an organisation like the Scottish Book Trust, and the prize itself will be a big help in finishing this book.

“I’ve been working on this project for a number of years now, travelling to each of the countries along the sixtieth parallel, thinking about the ways that people and cultures have interacted with these different places, and about ideas of community and of home.

“It’s exciting now to be able to concentrate exclusively on the book for a time, and hopefully to be able to move towards completing it.”