Professor wins Saltire literary prize for ‘life in death’ book

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One of the world’s leading forensic scientists has won the 2018 Saltire Book of the Year award.

Dame Sue Black wrote All That Remains: A Life in Death to document her work in some of the UK’s biggest criminal investigations as a professor of anatomy and forensic anthropology.

It is an account of Dame Sue’s groundbreaking work in laboratories, burial sites, murder scenes and when investigating mass fatalities due to war or natural disaster.

Despite the subject matter, judges said her book was “curiously uplifting and life-affirming”.

Five other writers were also recognised for fiction, poetry and research at the Saltire Awards in Edinburgh on St Andrew’s Day.

Dame Sue said: “I am truly delighted to have won the Saltire Book of the Year award this evening.

“To have done so in such illustrious literary company is a very special honour.

“Over the past 30 years and more, I feel very lucky to have been able to work in a job that I absolutely love.

“Working with teams who are second to none in their field of expertise has made that experience uniquely rewarding.

“In writing this book, my goal was always to create a record of that experience but also to reflect on the important and positive lessons I have learned about life through the study of death in its many different forms.”

Saltire Society programme director Sarah Mason said: “From poetry to publishing, fiction to academic studies, extending the length and breadth of the country and far beyond, this year’s Saltire Literary Awards are a testament to the outstanding calibre of modern Scottish literature in all its varied forms.

“Every one of the individual awards was hotly contested, making the judges’ decisions particularly challenging.”

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