The latter decades of the twentieth century witnessed a dramatic transformation in the public profile and critical esteem afforded to Scottish literature. The high regard for contemporary Scottish writing is born out in the number of awards its authors have received. A Disaffection, by James Kelman (born 1946), won the world’s oldest literary prize, the James Tait Black, in 1989, while Kelman became the first Scottish author to win the Booker Prize in 1994 with his novel How Late It Was, How Late. Kelman’s fellow Glaswegian and close friend Alasdair Gray (born 1934) had received the Whitbread Prize for his novel Poor Things in 1992. Around this time A.L. Kennedy (born 1965) was named one of Granta Magazine’s ‘Twenty Best Young British Novelists’. Remarkably Kennedy would make this top 20 again, ten years later, in 2003. In poetry the accolades were equally thick on the ground. Don Paterson (born 1963) won the T.S. Eliot Prize in 1997 and 2003, the only poet ever to have done so twice. While in 1996 and then again in 2000 Kathleen Jamie (born 1962) was awarded the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize for two of her own poetry collections.
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