Search begins for Scotland’s creative teenagers

The search has begun to find young Scottish teen writers and illustrators.

Scottish Book Trust, the national charity transforming lives through reading and writing, has announced that applications are open for their What’s Your Story? programme. Now in its fifth year, the scheme has so far assisted around 30 young people from across Scotland to develop writing, illustration and performance projects.

It is open to 14 to 17-year-olds living in Scotland, who are encouraged to apply for this all expenses paid opportunity to learn, grow and create as a writer or illustrator.

Alongside traditional applications by young people themselves, this year adults are also encouraged to refer those who are passionate advocates of teenage participation in creative and literary culture they think are suitable for the programme. For the first time this year, teens can choose to submit a video highlighting why they should be selected for the programme, or complete the written application form.

Teens selected for the programme will take part in an induction weekend at the National Library of Scotland to gain inspiration for their personal work, and will also be paired with a professional mentor who will work with them over six months.

As part of What’s Your Story?, the teens will take part in a week-long retreat at Moniack Mhor, Scotland’s Creative Writing Centre, where they will have dedicated time with their mentors. The participants will also plan and host StoryCon 2020, Scotland’s biggest creative writing and illustration conference for young people.

The young people will also have the opportunity to preview their creative projects at a showcase event, wrapping up the work they have completed during the What’s Your Story? programme. Industry experts will train the young people to express their work in front of a live audience, with the use of music and images.

Organised and run by Scottish Book Trust, What’s Your Story? was originally funded by Time to Shine, Creative Scotland’s national youth arts strategy and is the first nationwide programme of its kind in Scotland. This year it is funded by private donors and The Gaelic Books Council funds a Gaelic-language place. What’s Your Story? is free to take part in and travel expenses are covered for all participants.

Applications close on 27 November, and can be made online at

Marc Lambert, CEO of Scottish Book Trust, said: ‘Nurturing new young talent in the Scottish literary scene is so important and Scottish Book Trust is proud to launch the fifth year of What’s Your Story, focused on supporting young people.

‘The programme offers a truly unique opportunity and we urge parents and teachers to encourage the teens in their lives with a passion for writing or illustration to apply.’

Alison Lang, director of the Gaelic Books Council, said: ‘The Gaelic Books Council is always keen to support writers of any age, but it’s particularly important to encourage the next generation, and through this programme a young Gaelic speaker will get the opportunity to make their voice heard and express themselves in a creative way that allows them to develop their skills and confidence.

‘We’re delighted to be working with the Scottish Book Trust again this year, and we hope to hear from young writers from all parts of Scotland.’