Posted by Beth Whalley, Marketing Executive
Ashgate authors Iain J. M. Robertson and Richard A. Marsden were among those honoured at Scotland’s prestigious Saltire Society Literary Awards on Tuesday, 11th November 2014. Robertson and Marsden were shortlisted for the Research Book of the Year Award and History Book of the Year Award respectively, in the company of acclaimed academics and famed fiction writers, all of whom reside in Scotland, are of Scottish descent, or take a Scottish figure, historical event, or issue as their subject.
In a true celebration of Scottish literary talent, the Awards ceremony took place at Dynamic Earth, an iconic visitor attraction set at the heart of Edinburgh’s World Heritage Site, and was supported by the British Council Scotland, Waterstones, the Scottish Historical Review and the National Library of Scotland, amongst others.
Both authors enrich our understandings of crucial moments in Scotland’s history. Marsden considers the work of the influential antiquarian Cosmo Innes (1798-1874) to answer the question of how Victorian Scots reconciled an independent history with a unionist present. Innes, a prolific editor of medieval and early modern documents relating to Scotland’s parliament, universities and church, operated within an elite network, had access to the leading intellectuals and politicians of the day, and had significant influence on a contemporary understanding of Scottish history. Marsden’s ‘masterly scholarly monograph’ (Stefan Berger, Ruhr-Universitaet Bochum, Germany) therefore provides a window onto the ways in which the Scots viewed their own ‘national past.’ You can read more about Cosmo Innes, and its relationship with Scotland’s contested identity in the 21st century, here.
Robertson’s ‘critical landmark in protest history’ (Carl Griffin, University of Sussex, UK) draws on oral testimony and individual case studies to provide a lens through which to explore the fluid and contingent nature of protest performances. He turns to the Scottish Highlands in November 1918. Agrarian change threatened a wave of unemployment and eviction for the land-working population, and those who had served during the First World War found themselves returning to social and economic conditions that should have been left behind. Widespread social protest rapidly followed. Robertson navigates these events in order to illustrate how a range of forms of protest demanded attention (unlike the earlier Land Wars period, these protests were successful) and illustrate the formative role of landscape in people’s lifespaces.
We’d like to extend our congratulations to Richard, Iain, and all the other winners and shortlisted authors honoured at the awards.
Richard A. Marsden works for Cardiff University where he teaches History and coordinates a foundation pathway enabling adults without formal qualifications to progress onto degrees in the historical disciplines. More information about Cosmo Innes and the Defence of Scotland’s Past c. 1825-1875
Iain J. M. Robertson is Senior Lecturer in History at the University of Gloucestershire. More information about Landscapes of Protest in the Scottish Highlands after 1914: The Later Highland Land Wars