Scots Language Awards return for 2021 ceremony

Scots celebrities, artists and speakers gathered in Dundee at Broughty Ferry’s Gardyne Theatre to celebrate culture and language for the Scots Language Awards 2021.

The audience, many of whom were gathering from across the Scots community for the first time since before lockdown, were treated to interviews with the winners of 13 awards, and writer and broadcaster Alistair Heather hosted the inspiring evening with poet and social media star Len Pennie, introducing live performances from Victoria McNulty, Anna Stewart, Cameron Nixon, Alison Miller, and Ellie Beaton.

Public voting on the nominees was open Monday 6 to Sunday 19 September at, with a record number of votes.

The awards recognise the heroic efforts and work of the people and organisations who all champion Scots’ rare culture, music and words. Scots language has long been used by authors, spoken in our top films, and is experiencing a current year on year resurgence via social media as communities connect led by the public, influencers, and media alike.

Cabinet Secretary for Scotland’s Languages Shirley-Anne Somerville said: ‘These awards demonstrate that Scots is a vital part of this country’s cultural identity, and it is crucial we encourage and nurture the creativity of those who speak the language.’

Winners included The Scots Champion Award presented to John Hodgart, and the Janet Paisley sets to Scots Award sponsored by Creative Scotland, which this year went to Derrick McClure.

Colin Mackenzie collected the prize for School of the Year, awarded to Troqueer dominant School, Dumfries


Karen Dick, Head of Place, Partnerships and Communities at Creative Scotland said: ‘Scots Language is an important part of our history and culture with high oral traditions nevertheless very much alive in song, drama and storytelling. It’s terrific to see these awards celebrating and showcasing the creativity and excellence of those championing the Scots Language today. Huge congratulations Derrick McClure, the winner of the Janet Paisley Lifetime Achievement Award which we are pleased to sustain in recognition of his lifelong commitment to the language.’

Building on the success since launching in 2019 of the high-profile Awards, social media campaigns, regular Blether wi’ Heather podcasts, and the annual Wee Gaitherin’ which takes place around the Ceremony Event founder Simon Thoumire of organisers Hands Up For Trad said: ‘I’m thrilled by the growth of our current campaign for Scots Language, to be holding our first live event in Dundee with everybody, and at the calibre of this year’s bright winners for the 2021’s Scots Language Awards.’

Scots Business o the Year went to Lidl, with Chris Scott collecting the prize

The 13 award categories, sponsors and winners are –

Scots Project o the Year, sponsored by Scots Hoose: Scots Dictionary for Schools app.

Scots Bairns Book o the Year, sponsored by Scottish Government: The Glasgow Gruffalo’s Wean, by Elaine C. Smith.

Scots Speaker o the Year, sponsored by Scots Language Centre: Iona Fyfe.

Scots Performer o’ the Year, sponsored by Traditional Arts & Culture Scotland (TRACS): Len Pennie.

Scots Teacher o the Year, sponsored by Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA): Kerry Fraser, Perth High School.

Scots Book o the Year, sponsored by Scottish Book Trust: The Young Team by Graeme Armstrong (Picador).

Scots Champion Award: John Hodgart.

Scots Business o the Year, sponsored by Scots Language Society: Lidl.

Scots Schuil o the Year, sponsored by Itchy Coo/Black & White Publishing: Troqueer dominant School, Dumfries

Janet Paisley Lifetime Achievement Award, sponsored by Creative Scotland
Derrick McClure

Young Scots Writer o’ the Year, sponsored by Education Scotland: Hope and Lucy Freeman.

Scots Media Person o the Year, sponsored by Dictionaries of the Scots Language: Littlest Chicken.

Scots Writer o the Year, sponsored by National Library of Scotland: Victoria McNulty

Organising body, Hands Up for Trad funded by The National Lottery by Creative Scotland, was formed in 2002 and exists to increase the profile and visibility of traditional Scottish music and culture by information, advocacy and education to artists, participants and audiences. Find out more HERE

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