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Saltire Society announces poetry and fiction prizes

One of Scotland's most ­prestigious cultural awards has expanded its prizes to include poetry and ­literary fiction.

The 78-year-old Saltire Society, which champions Scottish culture, has gained the backing of the nation's main arts funder, Creative Scotland, for its main Scottish Book of the Year prize, which is worth £10,000.

Previous winners have included writers such as A.L. Kennedy, James Kelman and John Burnside.

The 2014 Awards shortlist will be announced at the Wigtown Book Festival in October and the winners at a ceremony in November.

The two new award categories are each accompanied by a £2000 cash prize.

The Saltire Poetry Award has been instituted to "recognise Scotland's rich poetic traditions" and is being supported by Creative Scotland and the Scottish Poetry Library.

The Saltire Literary Book of the Year is open to works of fiction as well as biographies - winners from both new categories will also be eligible for the Saltire Scottish Book of the Year.

Other categories including the First Book prize, the history book of the year and the research book of the year, which recognises "outstanding academic achievement."

Two additional prizes are the Ross Roy Medal, commemorating the contribution to Scottish literature made by Professor G. Ross Roy of South Carolina University, awarded annually to a PhD thesis submitted on a subject relating to Scottish literature.

The Saltire International Travel Bursary, supported by the British Council Scotland, gives one creative ­writing graduate the opportunity to pursue a research project, including international travel.

Jim Tough, the executive director of the Saltire Society said the awards were being taken to "a new level".

He added: "Our authors enliven Scotland's culture.

"Through these awards, the contribution and talent of all Scotland's writers is properly recognised and celebrated."

Robyn Marsack, director of the Scottish Poetry Library said he was "delighted" by the news.

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