Entering the main entrance, past the ticket booths and into the picturesque garden area of Charlotte Gardens, one would be forgiven for forgetting the roaring hustle and bustle of the Edinburgh Fringe situated on the opposite side of Princes Street. But here we are now, in a quaint area of Scotland’s capital where the 70th Edinburgh International Book Festival is being held; where old and young, student and professor alike nestle captivated eyes into books big and small.

Over to the east side sits the Baillie Gifford Main Theatre, a sprawling canvas plied indoors with low seats with no legroom, facing a stage on which rests a podium, two chairs, several glasses of water and an overhead projector. BBC Reporting Scotland reporter Sally Magnusson enters and welcomes writers and readers alike before indulging us with the ceremony’s facts: it is the oldest literary award in the world; there are three respective awards for Fiction, Biography and Drama genres (drama winner announced Monday, 21st August); each submission is shortlisted by postgrad students at The University of Edinburgh and then boiled down to eight potential winners and then, finally, the year’s champions are decided by Dr Alex Lawrie (fiction) and Dr Jonathan Wild (biography).

To a brief applause, Dr Wild takes the stage to introduce the final four Biography candidates: The Vanishing Man by Laura Cumming, A Life Discarded by Alexander Masters, A Stain in the Blood by Joe Moshenska and Rasputin by Douglas Smith. Dr Wild announces the merits of each book before congratulating the winner – Laura Cumming (The Vanishing Man).

Mrs Cumming takes the podium.  “I am fully aware of the honour of winning this prize.” she states with emotion, thanking her family and the city of Edinburgh before taking her seat.

Next up is Dr Alex Lawrie to announce the Fiction finalists: A Country Road, A Tree by Jo Baker, What Belongs to You by Garth Greenwell, The Lesser Bohemians by Eimear Mcbride and The Sport of Kings by C.E. Morgan.

“It’s been the most difficult year yet to choose a winner.” she states before making her mind up on The Lesser Bohemians by Eimear McBride. The Irish Mcbride takes the stage and graciously accepts the recognition with a brief statement on her love of fiction.

Finally, for the first time since the birth of the award, two woman have taken home each prize.

The award ceremony took place at the Edinburgh International Book Festival which you can find out more about here.