A Clovenfords author has been named as the winner of the first Scottish Teenage Book Prize.
Claire McFall, 33, took the award for her thriller Black Cairn Point after teenagers across the country named her book their favourite when votes were counted this week.
The book, Claire’s third novel, was published in August 2015 and garnered votes from young Scots aged 12-16 to pick up the inaugural accolade ahead of Keith Gray’s The Last Soldier and Joan Lennon’s Silver Skin.
Set in Dumfries and Galloway, it is described as “a chilling and atmospheric thriller” which explores what happens when an ancient malevolent spirit is reawakened.
Claire 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.”
As the winner of the award, run by the Scottish Book Trust, she receives a £3,000 prize and the appearance of her book as a free accessible version on the Books For All website.
The win comes just months after a successful visit to Beijing, where Claire signed a film contract for her debut novel Ferryman.
Writing in between teaching English part-time at Peebles High School and raising her two-year-old son, the Borders author has become somewhat of a celebrity in the Far East, where Ferryman has topped the region’s biggest sales charts.
No stranger to UK success either, the Ferryman also won the Older Readers Category of the Scottish Children’s Book Awards 2013; was long-listed for the UK Literary Association Book Awards and long-listed for the Branford Boase Award; and nominated for the Carnegie Medal.
Her second novel, Bombmaker, was released in 2014, and the sequel to the Ferryman is due to be released this September.
She has also just been commissioned by her UK publisher, Floris Books, for a fourth book, which could see Ferryman become a trilogy.
Heather Collins, schools programme manager at Scottish Book Trust, said: “Congratulations to Claire McFall on winning the inaugural Scottish Teenage Book prize which encourages teens themselves to actively celebrate the books they love and attracted votes from secondary school pupils across Scotland.
“The prize also creates a platform for Scottish writing talent to be recognized and promoted.
“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.”
Sasha de Buyl, literature officer at Creative Scotland, added: “Congratulations to Claire McFall on winning the first ever Scottish Teenage Book Prize.
“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.”
“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.”