Isle of Mull musician and now author, Colin MacIntyre, has today been announced the winner of the 2015 Edinburgh International Book Festival’s First Book Award with his debut novel, The Letters of Ivor Punch, published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson.
MacIntyre is of course no stranger to a tall tale, having risen to fame as the main man, singer-songwiter, of the acclaimed rock band – Mull Historical Society. The new novel which is set on a remote Hebridean island draws on his childhood roots for the beguiling tale of secrets and sadness instilled with a keen sense of place.
Colin, who grew up in Tobermory, part of the famous MacIntyre media family, now lives and works from London.
He tells us: ‘I am absolutely thrilled to be the recipient of the 2015 Edinburgh International Book Festival’s First Book Award. I had a wonderful time appearing at the Festival this year and would like to thank everyone involved for this very exciting honour, as well as my publishers W&N Books, my agent James Gill, and extra special thanks to everyone who voted for my novel.’
The Letters of Ivor Punch introduces a pioneering female travel writer, two fatherless boys and a man who, quite literally, fell from the sky. At the centre of it all sits the figure that links the past to the present – the irrepressible, unforgettable Ivor Punch – who will not be taking his secrets to the grave. He’s going to share them with a departed relative, with President Obama, and with everyone in between.
The First Book Award encourages the Book Festival audience to discover the wealth of debut fiction featured in the Festival Programme each year and vote for their favourite.
Colin was up against stiff competition – as was every one of the 56 adult and young adult writers who brought their debut novel, novella or short stories to the Capital in August, including those whose work was published in English for the first time and were eligible for the Edinburgh Award. Every one received at least one vote ,with over 2,500 votes received by the closing date.
The award-winning musician has released 6 albums to date, including two top twenty albums under the name, Mull Historical Society. He has been voted Scotland’s Top Creative Talent, and has toured worldwide with acts such as The Strokes, Elbow and REM and has reached an almost cult status with a fine following for his clever music.
Nick Barley, Director of the Edinburgh International Book Festival, says: ‘As a songwriter, Colin MacIntyre seems always to have been a natural storyteller. Perhaps it was only a matter of time before he turned his abilities to the longer form of the novel. It is fitting that the man best known as Mull Historical Society has crafted a story to which he has put his own name, yet it is a novel which owes so much to his roots on the island of Mull. Such powerful storytelling resonated strongly with readers at the Book Festival, making Colin a runaway winner in voting for the First Book Award.’
The next Mull Historical Society album – number 7 – is now complete and Colin will debut it in the spring of next year. We look forward to hearing that, as the man matures musically and only gets better with age. A live MHS performance is well worth the effort.
Campbell Cameron, Music Editor