A BORDERS author who unveiled the woman behind Reformation monk Martin Luther has been named runner-up for a coveted international award.

Margaret Skea's evocative depiction of Katharina Von Bora had already received rave reviews on its publication last year.

But now the Kelso writer has secured the runner-up spot in the Historical Novel Society New Novel Award 2018.

Just over 500 years ago Katharina's soon-to-be-husband nailed 95 theses to the door of his local church in the Saxon town of Wittenberg.

His grievances with the Catholic Church were to change the course of history.

And supporting Martin Luther through those early years of upheaval in the Christian Church was the influential, yet mysterious Katharina.

Katharina: Deliverance was the result of a 1,000-mile journey Margaret made to Saxony, where she was able to research the shadowy, little-documented wide of the Reformer - a mission made possible by a Creative Scotland grant.

Recognition of her work at the awards, from a field of more than 180 competition entries, has surprised and delighted the historical novelist, who was brought up in Northern Ireland.

Margaret said: “I entered on a whim, with no expectation of success.

“As the New Novel Award is a secular competition and the book, inevitably, has a religious focus, it was encouraging to do well, especially against very strong long and short lists."

Katharina: Deliverance is Margaret’s third book, following the prize-winning Turn of the Tide and its sequel A House Divided, both set in 16th century Scotland.

Lead judge at the Historical Novel Society New Novel Award, Catherine Cho, described Margaret’s writing as 'assured, evocative, compelling and immersive, a fascinating reading experience'.

Margaret is currently writing the final instalment of Katharina’s story - entitled Katharina: Fortitude - which is due for publication next year.