RSGS were delighted to present Hugh Andrew, Managing Director of Birlinn Publishers Ltd, with its prestigious Shackleton Medal at a private event at the Institut Français Écosse in Edinburgh. The medal was awarded for his leadership and citizenship in Scottish publishing, and his role in exemplifying high-quality geographical works.

Professor Roger Crofts (left) with Hugh Andrew

The event was hosted by Professor Roger Crofts, now a Vice President of RSGS, and Professor Charles Withers, former Geographer Royal for Scotland and a Birlinn author himself. Professor Withers delivered a citation in which he referred to Hugh Andrew as the ‘Vital Spark’ of Scottish publishing – a reference to Birlinn’s first step into publishing, re-issuing Neil Munro’s beloved short stories of Para Handy. “No other figure in Scottish cultural life in the last 30 years has done more to promote Scottish publishing and Scottish authorship” said Professor Withers. “Through his management of Birlinn and associated imprints, Andrew has revitalised Scottish letters across numerous fields - in history, literature in its many genres, natural history, and of course in geography. In his concern for Scotland’s geographical publishing, Hugh Andrew embodies the commitment to informed citizenship that distinguishes holders of the Shackleton Medal.”

Hugh Andrew with Professor Roger Crofts (left) and Professor Charles Withers (right)

As a Shackleton Medallist, Mr Andrew joins a remarkable network of individuals, including former French Prime Minister, Laurent Fabius, key architect of the Paris Agreement, Christiana Figueres, former Peruvian Minister for the Environment, Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, and lawyer and activist, Polly Higgins.

On receiving his medal, Hugh commented “It is an honour to receive this award, an award to an individual, but really to a remarkable and dedicated team of people who for thirty years have centred the culture and history of Scotland at the centre of their working lives. If Scotland as a nation is to have a future it is in full knowledge and understanding of its past. I believe and hope that myself and the team at Birlinn have played a part in that, a part we hope long continues.”