JOURNALIST Ben Myers is planning a trip to Iceland to see his favourite rock band after scooping one of the country's richest book prizes.

The 42-year-old collected a cheque for £25,000 after winning the ninth Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction at the Borders Book Festival in Melrose, at the weekend.

He received the award with his book "The Gallows Pole", a novelisation of the true story of the Cragg Vale Coiners - a band of counterfeiters who produced fake gold coins in Yorkshire in the late 18th Century.

English-born Myers said he was "staggered" to win the prize after being awarded it by last year's winner Sebastian Barry.

He thanked his Yorkshire-based publishers Bluemoose Books and said he was planning to spend the windfall on a trip to Reykjavik to see the original line-up of Guns 'N' Roses as well as having a break after publishing seven books in eight years.

As an added accolade, Myers will also be the subject of a special Royal Mail postmark congratulating him on winning the prize.

The postmark will be applied this week to stamped mail that Royal Mail deliver to around 30 million addresses across the UK.

" This is only the second time a book prize has been selected for this special recognition by the Royal Mail.

The judges described The Gallows Pole as a "raring furnace of a novel".

They said: "Benjamin Myers portrays social upheavals which have a sharp contemporary echo, as well as bringing to light a little-known and fascinating fragment of rural English history, through his portrayal of the lawless 'coiners' and their charismatic warlord pitting themselves against the massed forces of industrial and social change.

“He meets the challenge for every author of historical fiction - bringing alive the past and speaking forcefully to the readers of today.”