Awards and Prizes
Award from Northern Ireland Arts Council, 1975, for stories contributed to periodicals.
Award from Scottish Arts Council, 1978, for Secrets and Other Stories.
Pharic McLaren Award for the best radio play from Radio Industries of Scotland and second place for Pye Radio Award, both 1981, both for 'My Dear Palestrina'.
Award from Scottish Arts Council and runner-up for fiction prize from the Guardian, both 1981, both for Lamb.
Jacobs Award for best play from Radio Telefis Eireann for television production 'My Dear Palestrina'.
Award from Scottish Arts Council, 1982, and arts award from the Irish Sunday Independent, 1983, both for A Time to Dance and Other Stories.
Award for best screenplay from the London Evening Standard, 1984, for 'Cal'.
Award of bronze medal for screenplay of 'Lamb'; also voted best film by the youth jury and by the ecumenical jury, Lucarno Film Festival, 1987.
Award from Scottish Arts Council, 1988, for The Great Profundo and Other Stories and joint winner of 'Scottish Writer of the Year, 1988' (McVities prize) and the Irish Post Award for 1989. Society of Authors Travelling Scholarship (1994).
Walking the Dog shortlisted for The Saltire Society Scottish Book of the Year (1994).
Grace Notes has been awarded The Saltire Scottish Book of the Year Award (1997). In the same year it was shortlisted for The Booker Prize, The Writers Guild Best Fiction Book, The Stakis Scottish Writer of the Year, the Whitbread Novel of the Year, the Mind Book of the Year and was a runner-up for the Kerry Ingredients Book of the Year.
The Anatomy School was shortlisted for the Saltire Scottish Book of the Year (2001).
Creative Scotland Award 2003 (£30,000) from the Scottish Arts Council to write and direct a short film (Bye-Child). ‘Bye-Child’ winner of BAFTA Scotland Best First Director Award and nominated by BAFTA for Best Short Film (2004).
The Lord Provost of Glasgow’s Award for Literature 2005.
‘Matters of Life & Death’ longlisted for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Awards and chosen as one of the Sunday Times Top Five books of the Year.
Midwinter Break winner of Novel of the Year at the Irish Book Awards 2017.
Hennessy Literary Hall of Fame 2018.
Winner Bord Gáis Energy Irish Novel of the Year 2018
Shortlisted Saltire Scottish Book of the Year 2018
Winner Waterstone’s Book of the Month January 2018
Longlisted Wellcome Book Prize 2018
Shortlisted Independent Bookshop Week Book Award 2018
Longlisted for the Rathbones Folio Prize 2018
Shortlisted Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year Award 2018
Winner Sunday Herald Culture Awards Best Writer Award 2018
Shortlisted for Books Are My Bag Readers Award 2018
Included in the Sunday Times 'The Best Books of the 21st Century' (April 7th 2019)
Shortlisted for the Dublin Literary Award 2019