The Saltire Society publishes the first 40 under 40 list

The aim of the list is to showcase talented creatives under 40 from across Scotland across five categories: literature, publishing, science, languages ​​and performing and visual arts.

The 40 were nominated by members of the Edinburgh-based cultural organization and judged by a panel of experts. The list includes Harry Josephine Giles, the Orcadian poet and novelist who won last year’s prestigious Arthur C Clarke Award for her novel Deep Wheel Orcadia, singer Rachel Sermanni, theater makers Kieran Hurley and Isobel McArthur, the playwright Stef Smith and Climate activist and influencer Laura Young and Roseanne Watt, the Edwin Morgan Prize-winning poet from Shetland.

Commenting on her place on the list, Ms Watt said: “I’m honored to have my work recognized in this way – and I’m also a little amazed when I think of some of the local language narratives I’m dealing with Any success I’ve had is solely due to those who gave me defiant role models, who encouraged my work and inspired me to write in my native language. I am extremely grateful.”

The Applied Sciences category includes Niall McGoldrick, a University of Dundee dentist and dental public health consultant who founded the oral cancer charity Mouth Matters, climate activist Laura Young, who blogs as Less Waste Laura, the rocket engineer Jack-James Marlow, and Talat Yaqoob, the former director of Equate Scotland, which campaigns for gender equality in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Ms Yaqoob said: “It’s a real honor to be included in this list alongside so many brilliant people. I particularly appreciate the diversity of backgrounds and wide-ranging expertise that is being recognized. I have had the opportunity to work on a range of equality issues and campaigns and to be included on this list is a recognition of the importance of fighting for a fairer Scotland.”

Fife-based poet and social media reporter Ellen Pennie is one of eight acclaimed artists in the Languages ​​category, along with folksinger Iona Fyfe, winner of MG Alba Musician of the Year 2021, and Emma Grae, an author and Glasgow-based journalist winner of Musician of the Year 2021 passionate advocate for the Scottish language and breaking the stigma of mental illness.

HeraldScotland: Sekai Machache, one of the 40 under 40s of the Saltire SocietySekai Machache, one of the Saltire Society’s 40-under 40s (Image: Saltire Society)

Among those recognized for her work in the performing arts is Keiran Hurley, the award-winning author, performer and theater maker. He will be joined by actress Danielle Jam, singers Robyn Stapleton and Rachel Sermanni, and Emma Hay, program manager at the Edinburgh International Festival. The visual arts group includes Sekai Machache, a Glasgow-based Zimbabwean-Scottish visual artist and curator, and textile designer Flora Collingwood Norris.

Commenting on the awards, Sarah Mason, Chief Executive of the Saltire Society said: “We had nominated an exceptional number of talented young people from all parts of Scotland… It shows the incredible range of creative talent living and working in Scotland today.”

The full list:

literature and publishing

Shehzar Doja (poet and editor)

Harry Josephine Giles (poet and novelist)

Pauline McKay (academic specializing in Scottish literature)

Alicia Pirmohamed (poet)

Maria Sledmere (poet, editor, educator and critic)

Stef Smith (playwright)

Roseanne Watt (poet, filmmaker and musician)

Alasdair C Whyte (Gaelic singer, presenter and scholar)

applied Sciences

Beatriz Goulao (statistician)

Jack-James Marlow (Space Rocket Engineer)

Mhairi McCann (Founder and CEO of Youth STEM 2030)

Niall McGoldrick (dentist)

Zahra Rattray (Lecturer in Translational Pharmacy and Interdisciplinary Scientist)

Yasmin Sulaiman (Head of Partnerships, CodeBase)

Talat Yaqoob (activist, author and commentator)

Laura Young (climate influencer and activist)


Iona Brown (Gaelic teacher and singer)

Iona Fyfe (singer)

Emma Grae (author and journalist)

Alistair Heather (journalist)

Linda MacLeod (Gaelic singer and TV presenter)

Ellen Pennie (poet)

Lana Pheutan (Gaelic singer, author and actress)

Ian Smith (accordionist and musician)

Visual arts

Jennifer Argo (multimedia artist)

Flora Collingwood Norris (Textile Designer)

Michael Doherty (portrait artist)

Rhona Jack (Multidisciplinary Artist)

Zephyr Liddell (Textile Artist)

Sekai Machache (photographer and multimedia artist)

Lily Macrae (painter and graphic artist)

Joshua Wilson (Illustrator)

Performing Arts

Kevin P. Gilday (spoken word artist, theater maker)

Emma Hay (Program Manager)

Kieran Hurley (writer, performer, theater maker)

Danielle Jam (actress)

Reuben Joseph (actor)

Isobel McArthur (playwright and actress)

Rachel Sermanni (Scottish folk musician)

Robyn Stapleton (Scottish singer)

Grace Reader

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