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This Award has been created to recognise publishing skill and effort ; to validate the practice of poetry publication in pamphlet form ; and to encourage the preservation of printed material of this kind in the national collections.

It is in memory of Callum Macdonald MBE, Scottish literary publisher and founder of Macdonald Publishers and Printers, which eventually became Macdonald Lindsay Pindar plc. Sadly, the firm has now closed down, so the Award will also serve to commemorate the part played in post-war Scottish culture and commerce by Macdonald's.

For further information, contact

The Administrator
The Callum Macdonald Memorial Fund
National Library of Scotland
George IV Bridge Building
Edinburgh EH1 lEW
Web : The National Library of Scotland

An application form is available to download in pdf format. Click here

The short list for the 2013 Award was:

  • Hansel Cooperative Press and Woodend Publishing for 'Reflections' by Yvonne Gray and John Cumming
  • Happenstance Press for 'After the creel fleet' by Niall Campbell
  • Mariscat Press for 'On time' by Donald Mackay
  • New Voices Press for 'Holding' by Maggie Rabatski
  • Roncadora Press for 'Nest' by Tom Pow and Hugh Bryden
  • Stewed Rhubarb Press for 'The glassblower dances' by Rachel McCrum.

  • The winner was Stewed Rhubarb Press for 'The glassblower dances' by Rachel McCrum.
    Runner up was Roncadora Press for 'Nest' by Tom Pow and Hugh Bryden
    (Maverick Photo Agency)

    Lady Marks gave a short speech, of which this is a summary:

    I am never sure of what to say on occasions like this so I usually prefer not to speak, but Tessa felt I should say a few words. Being in the presence of so many poets and intellectuals in this august institution of learning, I feel totally out of place, as I am neither able to regale you with my great command of British literature and poetry nor indeed my erudition in any intellectual subject apart from the history of the Ottoman Empire, which is not exactly something most people know about or indeed are interested in. So I thought I’ll tell you why I love Scotland.

    I first came across Scotland as a schoolgirl studying the Greek war of independence. And there, right in the middle of it stood, dressed in the Greek national costume, the great Scotsman George Gordon Lord Byron. Byron who had come to Greece to aid the revolution by paying £4,000 of his own money to refit the Greek fleet and was planning to attack the Turks in Le Panto in the gulf of Corinth, like the great Spanish naval commander Don Juan who in 1571 did exactly the same and stopped Turkish naval advances in Europe. He employed a fire-master to prepare the artillery and took part of the rebel army under his own command until he fell ill in 1824 from a fever and subsequently died. And then we learned of Byron the poet who wrote the lines that every Greek child recognises:

    The isles of Greece, the isles of Greece!
    Where burning Sappho loved and sung,
    Where grew the arts of war and peace,
    Where Delos rose, and Phoebus sprung!
    Eternal summer gilds them yet,
    But all, except their sun, is set...

    The mountains look on Marathon--
    And Marathon looks on the sea;
    And musing there an hour alone,
    I dreamed that Greece might still be free;

    Byron believed in us and he made us believe in ourselves and after nine years of struggle we managed to defeat the vastly rich and hugely powerful Ottoman Empire and Greece fulfilled Byron’s dream and became again free.

    For me, Byron in this poem epitomises all that is great not only in Greece but also in Scotland. In my opinion having lived in Britain for almost 30 years now, the Scottish nation is vastly superior in the spheres of Education, Culture and Law. And of course poetry! Because giving these awards to both England at the BL and Scotland here at the NLS I can tell you that Scotland with a population of 4 million approx produces almost 50 entrants per year while the whole of Britain including Northern Ireland produces so far 130 entrants out of which a great number are Scots and won several of the awards!

    I have nothing but love and admiration for this small nation that have done so much for the world, for Greece and me personally. But my thanks for Scotland should really be given to one Scot who represents everything I believe is great in Scotland: Tessa Ransford, who I met almost 15 years ago when she invited me to Edinburgh and asked me to support the building of the Scottish Poetry Library-which I did- and subsequently the Callum Macdonald awards. With her single-minded determination to do something worthwhile despite the odds, she is the epitome of what is great in this nation and our wider European humanist civilisation. I would like to thank her for involving me in this wonderful endeavour as of course I would like to thank the National Librarian Mr Martyn Wade for his support of these awards, Mr Andrew Martin for his part in the awards, the Deputy national Librarian Mr Darryl Mead for presenting the awards, Mr Kenny Redpath for the administration of the awards, the judges of this event: Ms Lesley Duncan, Mr Tom Dalgliesh and last year’s winners Mr Alistair Peebles and Ms Lesley Harrison, the poets that take part every year and the Scottish nation for their warmth, originality and humanistic values.

    CMMA 2012 winners, Lesley Harrison & Alistair Peebles with the quaich

    Tessa Ransford speaking at the Award Ceremony on Callum Macdonald's centenary

    Callum Macdonald Memorial Award 2012

    Ecstatics, A Language of Birds published by Orkney based Brae Editions won the 2012 National Library of Scotland Callum Macdonald Memorial Award. This year the award attracted 38 entries.

    Alistair Peebles of Brae Editions was presented with a cheque for £800 and will hold the Callum Macdonald Quaich for 12 months. The runner up was Happyland by William Hershaw, published by FRAS Publications who received a cheque for £300.

    The shortlist for the 2012 Callum Macdonald Memorial Award.

    The award recognises outstanding examples of pamphlet poetry publishing with a connection to Scotland or Scottish culture and this year attracted 38 entries.

    The shortlist was:

    • Ecstatics, A Language of Birds by Lesley Harrison & Laura Drever, published by Brae Editions

    • Happyland by William Hershaw, published by FRAS Publications

    • Some Consequences of Saying Yes by Mary Thomson and published by Mary Thomson

    • A Natural Curiosity by A.C Clarke, published by New Voices Press

    • Upon A Good High Hill by Helen Lawrenson, published by Perjink Press

    • Linked Lines by Hayden Murphy, published by Roncadora Press

    • Dain Do Shomhairle by multiple authors, published by the Scottish Poetry Library

    The winner and runner-up will be announced at a ceremony at the National Library of Scotland on 17 May, when all the entries will also be displayed. The publisher of the winning pamphlet will be presented with a cheque for £800 and will hold the Callum Macdonald Quaich for 12 months.


    The 2011 winning pamphlet selected from a shortlist of six was 'Figure in a Landscape' by Anna Crowe. Hamish Whyte of Mariscat Press accepted a cheque for £750 and the Callum Macdonald Quaich (for 12 months).

    The judges commended 'Figure in a Landscape' both for the high quality of its poetry and the understated elegance of its production, praising it as a fine example of pamphlet poetry publishing at its best.

    • Mariscat Press for 'Figure in Landscape', by Anna Crowe

    The runner up was:

    • JoAnne McKay publisher and author of 'Venti'

    This year the poet of the winning pamphlet, Anna Crowe, was a Michael Marks Poet in Residence at the Harvard Center for Hellenic Studies in Greece for two weeks in July 2011, and was joined by the winner of the Michael Marks Poetry Award, presented by the British Library. Anna sent a short report on her experience which is copied below:

    My Two Weeks in Greece – Looking Back

    The Harvard residency was a truly unforgettable experience, and I count myself very fortunate to have had the company of Olive Broderick, the Michael Marks Poetry Award winner from Ireland, who proved a delightful companion, and is now a firm friend. This was my first visit to Greece, and I was surprised to find how green the northern Peloponnese was in July. The landscapes are beautiful and awe-inspiring: the Olympic site is extraordinary, its huge columns toppled by an earthquake centuries ago and lying around like huge drums of cheese. I would advise next year's winner of the Callum MacDonald Memorial Award to try to get a bit of Byzantine history under their belts, as they will benefit more from their visits to the amazing hilltop sites of Mystras and Monemvasia. Other advice – apart from remembering to take a shady hat and a plentiful supply of bottled water! – would be to make sure you find out in advance which texts will feature on the course programme and either take them with you or download them, if possible, from Project Gόtenberg – and to be clear about whether you actually want to participate in all the lectures on offer. You should bear in mind that you will be, after all, a 'poet-in-residence' and not just another student. The lectures are, in the main, of a very high quality, but it is a question, as Olive and I found, of striking the right balance between devoting time to what is on offer and your own work. One thing is certain: your hosts will be charming and hospitable, and you will have a marvellous time.

    Anna Crowe
    Winner of the Callum MacDonald Memorial Award 2011

    Runner up was JoAnne McKay publisher and author of 'Venti'.

    The shortlist was:
    'An Illustrated Book About Birds' by Anna Davis, published by Anna Davis
    'Figure in Landscape' by Anna Crowe, published by Mariscat Press
    'Venti' by JoAnne McKay, published by JoAnne McKay
    'Countervailing' by David Betteridge, published by Rhizome Press
    'Lost at Sea' by Jean Atkin, published by Roncadora Press
    'Threading a Viking' by Sheena Berry, published by Sheena Watson.


    The results of the 2010 Callum Macdonald Memorial Award were announced at the NLS on Wednesday 19th May.

    "The pamphlets the judges have chosen show a spirit of adventure in every aspect: concept and execution, poetry and production, originality of design and sensitive use of typography.” Tessa Ransford

    The joint winners were:

    • 'And for that minute', by Leonard McDermid – published by Stichill Marigold Press, Kelso
    • 'Arc O Mons', by Christie Williamson – Hansel Co-operative Press (Christine de Luca), Edinburgh

    Runner Up was:

    •'One bird flying', by Lesley Harrison – Mariscat Press (Hamish Whyte), Edinburgh

    Other short listed entries were:

    •'Part truths', by Michael Pedersen – Koo Press (Douglas W Gray), Aberdeen
    •'Skirlags', by Nalini Paul – Red Squirrel Press, Orkney
    •'Songs from a dying village', by Tom Pow – Pueblo Press, Dumfries
    •'Galilee to Gallicantu', by Anne B Murray – Terra Firma Press, Glasgow.


    The 2009 winner of the Callum Macdonald Memorial Award was Postcards from the Hedge by Hugh McMillan.

    Published in Dumfries by Roncadora Press received the Callum Macdonald Quaich at a ceremony held on Friday 29th May at the National Library of Scotland. (The pamplet will be available for purchase on this site shortly)

    Joint runners up were Sky Blue Notebook from the Pyrenees by Jayne Wilding, published in Dunbar by Calder Wood Press.
    and Ring O’Sangs by Mary Johnston, published in Bonnyrigg by Poetry Monthly.

    Other short listed entries were:

    • The Flood, by Alistair McDonald, published in Dunoon by Classical Head Press
    • Slaughtering Beetroot, by Angela McSeveney, published in Edinburgh by Mariscat Press
    • Hinkum Clinkum, by Sheena Blackhall, published in Aberdeen by Malfranteaux Concepts.
    • Hope/Truth by Priscilla Chueng-Nainby, published in Edinburgh by Lemongrass Hut.

    The winner was announced at a ceremony at the National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh on Friday 29 May at 6pm.

    Commenting on the shortlist, judge Tessa Ransford OBE said:

    “The 2009 award saw 38 entries of great variety, producing creative ways of dealing with the lighter and darker sides of life. We were delighted and impressed and would like to congratulate all the entrants for their well-made and well-written pamphlets. We would have liked to choose many more winners from such an array.

    The shortlist demonstrates the variety of pamphlets entered. We have everything from the handmade to the more professionally produced, Scottish Arts Council-funded productions. There are a set of translations from German into Scots, a Chinese-inspired collection, and one of Scots rhymes for children.”


    The CMMA 2008 winners

    Duncan Glen of Kirkcaldy and Hazel Cameron formerly of Perthshire and now of Masham, Yorkshire, shared the winning prize at the eighth annual Callum Macdonald Memorial Award

    Picture shows from left, Duncan Glen, Tom Dalgleish, former chairman the trustees of Macdonald Printers and one of the regualr CMMA judges and Hazel Cameron.

    Glen's Edinburgh Poems, is published by Akros publications, whilst Hazel Cameron's The Currying Shop is published by Imago Media.

    The winners were announced at a ceremony held at the National Library of Scotland on Wednesday 7 May, with each taking a prize of £375 as well as shared custody of the Callum Macdonald Memorial Quaich.

    Of the winning entries, the judging panel said "The two pamphlets contrast in theme and presentation, as indicated by their covers: one daring and challenging, the other restrained and lyrical. The poetry in both is of a high quality. One evokes ever-poetic Edinburgh, but with subversive humour. The Currying Shop, meanwhile, explores a different, more rural yet industrially historical part of Scotland. The standard of production in both is extremely high.

    The short listed entries were:

    • If Ah Could Talk Tae The Artists by Hugh Bryden, published in Dumfries by Roncadora Press.
    • Treeds by Laureen Johnson, published in Edinburgh by Hansel Cooperative Press.
    • One Light Burning by Donny O’Rourke, published in Glasgow by Bonny Day Books.
    • The Currying Shop by Hazel B Cameron, published in Yorkshire by Imago Media.
    • The Oboist’s Bedside Book by Margaret Christie, published in Glenrothes by Happenstance Press.
    • Edinburgh Poems by Duncan Glen, published in Kirkcaldy by Akros Publications

    The CMMA 2007 winner

    The winner and runners up of the 2007 Callum Macdonald Memorial Award were announced on Monday, 14th May at The National Library of Scotland.

    The winner was:

    Menopausal Bedtime Rhymes by Maureen Sangster, published by Bourtree

    The runner up was:
    Fifty Fife Sonnets: Coarse and Fine by William Hershaw, published by Akros Publications

    Maureen Sangster and Lady Marks

    William Hershaw & Maureen Sangster

    Guests Browsing

    To download the press release
    Click here :
    Press Release

    Others on the Short List were:

    Into Glasgow, Hamish Whyte (ed.), published by Mariscat Press

    Window on the Garden by Hamish Whyte, published by Botanic Press & Essence Press

    Light up Lanarkshire by Gerry Cambridge, self published

    Boat Songs: A Gairloch Calendar by Ian Blake (illustrated by June Miller) published by Three Cats Press


    The CMMA 2006

    The winner was:
    North Uist Sea Poems by Pauline Prior-Pitt (self-published)

    Hazel & Tessa display the 2007 leaflet.

    Runners up were :
    Exploding Cicadas by Martin Bates published by White Adder Press
    Sea Stories by Lesley Harrison published by Pinkfoot Press

    The other short listed entries were -

    •The Eel’s Eyebrows edited by Richard Medrington & Elspeth Murray, published by Puppet State Press

    •Glass Works by Stephanie Green published by Cat's Pyjamas Publications

    •North Uist Sea Poems by Pauline Prior-Pitt (self-published)

    •Under the Threshold by Dorothy Lawrenson published by Perjink Press

    Overall, the judges felt that standards among entries to the CMMA this year were again extremely high in terms of both poetry and production. A considerable number of pamphlets entered had themes or origins from the Western and Northern Isles, and it is also notable that four of the six short listed entries are by women.

    Tessa Ransford, one of the Award judges, said: “It feels like entering a playground of poets where poets of all ages and backgrounds are trying out different apparatus as they adventure into new forms of both theme and presentation. The freedom and potential of the pamphlet for poets is opening up the field in exciting new ways, and I truly believe that poetry in pamphlet form has become a cutting edge of creativity in Scottish Poetry.’’

    The winner of the CMMA 2005
    Gill McConnell
    Garden Party
    Published by Woodburn Press

    poetry pamphlets from...  
    Bullseye PublicationsHarpercroftHazel Buchan CameronJohn BrewsterLaverock's Nest PressMary ThomsonStichill Marigold PressThe Patchwork PressWisdomfield
    © dan ambrose / scottish pamplet poetry 2005