Author Irvine Welsh is supporting the competition
Author Irvine Welsh is supporting the competition

Trainspotting writer backs new Scottish campaign

Scottish Book Trust has launched a rebellious campaign to get the nation writing.

The national charity changing lives through reading and writing is encouraging people of all ages and backgrounds across the country to submit true stories on the theme of Rebel.

All entries will appear on Scottish Book Trust’s website and a selection of the stories will be published in an e-book for Book Week Scotland (19-25 November 2018) – a week long, national celebration of books and reading.

This is the 10th anniversary of the writing campaign, which changes theme each year. The first campaign, with the theme Days Like This, was launched in 2008 and selected submissions were published in a collection in 2009, in partnership with BBC Radio Scotland.

The book gave people across Scotland the chance to be a part of the nation’s history by writing a story about a special day in their life. The project gathered hundreds of extraordinary tales from ordinary people, along with more well-known writers including Scottish novelist Irvine Welsh who contributed a story to the first collection and is supporting the campaign again this year.

Since then, Scottish Book Trust has run a yearly public participation writing campaign. Around 5000 entries have been received over the years, and several participants have gone on to become published authors or recipients of a Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award. Notable writers who have submitted to previous writing campaigns very early in their writing careers include Catherine Simpson, Anneliese Mackintosh and Billy Letford.

Author Irvine Welsh is supporting the competition

The Rebel writing campaign is open for submissions from 28 March to 6 June and during that time Scottish Book Trust is encouraging the people of Scotland to reveal their rebellious tales. It doesn’t matter if it’s skiving school in the glory days of your youth, taking a stand against the establishment or pinching the last biscuit from the tin, Scottish Book Trust wants to know what Rebel means to you.

Irvine Welsh, best known for his era-defining book, Trainspotting, has written 12 novels and four books of shorter fiction.

He is encouraging the public to take part and send in a rebel story, whatever their level or lack of experience.

Irvine said: ‘In an uncertain and obtuse age, the only currency you can have is education and knowledge. It is incumbent on everyone to read and educate themselves. This is how we realise ourselves. It’s why we read and it’s why we write – to share our stories and culture with others.’

Writers of all ages and experiences are welcome to submit their work, in any form – story, poem, comic strip, play or letter – of up to 1,000 words, in English, Gaelic or Scots.

Well-known writers such as Sara Sheridan, Wayne Price, Jayne Baldwin and Renita Boyle will divulge their rebellious sides with their own stories during the open call for entries. For those seeking inspiration, Scottish Book Trust will hold Rebel writing workshops run by the above writers. The workshops will take place during April and May in Aberdeen, Dumfries and Galloway, Dundee, Edinburgh, Elgin, Galashiels, Glasgow, Inverness, Perth, Shetland, South Lanarkshire and Stirling.

For those who can’t attend a workshop in person, Sara Sheridan will host a free, online workshop that can be accessed via Scottish Book Trust’s Facebook page. The workshop will be live on Saturday, 21 April from 12.30- 1.30pm and will also be available to watch on demand on Scottish Book Trust’s YouTube channel at a later date.

Writer Sara Sheriden (Photo: Bethany Grace)

Sara said: ‘The theme of rebellion is close to my heart. I’m excited to be involved with this year’s writing campaign and I’m looking forward to reading about rebels of all kinds – silent, vocal, wild and hilarious. Bring it on.’

The project is being run in partnership with the Gaelic Books Council. Two Gaelic writers – poet Anna Frater and poet, journalist and novelist David Eyre – will be submitting rebellious pieces of their own. Anna Stewart, a Scottish Book Trust New Writer Awardee, has also been commissioned to write a rebel piece in Scots.

Submissions can be made online or via post to: Rebel, Scottish Book Trust, Sandeman House, Trunk’s Close, 55 High Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1SR.

The closing date for entries is midnight on Wednesday 6 June. Submissions for Rebel schools writing campaign, for all primary and secondary schools in Scotland, will be open from Tuesday 1 May to Friday 5 October.

Marc Lambert, CEO of Scottish Book Trust, said: ‘Every year, we receive hundreds of fantastic entries for our public participation campaign, and reading these stories is one of the annual highlights for Scottish Book Trust. The theme of Rebel is a perfect fit for 2018 and we are sure the people of Scotland have some enlightening stories to share. This is an excellent opportunity, whether you are a confident writer or looking to put pen to paper for the very first time.”

Stella Hervey Birrell, an award-winning poet whose entry was included in last year’s collection of stories, said: ‘I was delighted to be selected for inclusion in last year’s e-book by Scottish Book Trust. It was a real validation to my life as a writer and I recommend entering this year’s Rebel campaign.’