The Scottish Book Trust has announced the 13 recipients of the New Writers Award, which is supported by Creative Scotland.
Since 2009 Scottish Book Trust, the national charity transforming lives through reading and writing, has supported over 100 creative individuals through the New Writers Awards. The New Writers Awards, which celebrated its tenth anniversary last year, represents a variety of genres including fiction, narrative non-fiction, poetry, children’s fiction and comics.
Six writers from Edinburgh were selected for a New Writers’ Award, including: Eris Young, Luca Serra, Anne Hay, Ioannis Kalkounos, Lyndsey Croal and Patrick James Errington (recipient of The Callan Gordon Award). Two writers from Glasgow were also selected: Shirley Gillian and Bert Thomson. Liam Hagan from North Lanarkshire, Marianne MacRae from Midlothian and Krishan Coupland from East Lothian also received awards.
Two writers also received Gaelic New Writers Awards: Andreas Wolff based in Argyll and Mary Ann Kennedy from Lochaber. These prizes are supported by the Gaelic Books Council.
The New Writers Awards provide a selection of talented writers who have not yet published a full length book or collection with financial support, to enable them to concentrate on developing their work, as well as professional guidance to help them move towards publication.
Former awardees include Helen Sedgwick, whose first crime novel When The Dead Come Calling (Point Blank Books) was released earlier this January, Morag Law, whose short fiction collection Cuibhle an Fhortain (Wheel of Fortune) (Luath Press) was published in December 2019, and Kirstin Innes, whose novel Scabby Queen (4th Estate) will be published in April 2020.
Each of the 13 recipients will receive a £2,000 cash award and support tailored to their needs including mentoring from writers and industry professionals, training opportunities, and the platform to showcase their work to publishers and agents. The awards also include the offer of a week-long writing retreat at Moniack Mhor. The retreat provides time, space and the freedom to create new work in idyllic surroundings.
The panel, who received almost 400 submissions, included award-winning author Abir Mukherjee and novelist Ajay Close who judged the fiction and narrative non-fiction category. Poets Michael Pedersen, Raman Mundair, and Sam Tongue, project co-ordinator at the Scottish Poetry Library, judged the poetry submissions. Award-winning authors Martin Stewart and Patrice Lawrence sat on the Children and Young Adult panel. The Gaelic Books Council selects the two Gaelic New Writer Awardees.
Support for an additional place is also generously provided by The Callan Gordon Award, which was set up by his family to celebrate the life of Callan Gordon, a young Scottish writer. The Callan Gordon Award is open to short story writers and poets between the ages of 18 and 35.
Marc Lambert, CEO of Scottish Book Trust, said: ‘Congratulations to our thirteen New Writers Awardees, who join the likes of Graeme Macrae Burnet, Helen Sedgwick and Kirsty Logan. The standard of applications continues to be consistently high, demonstrating the wealth of talent in Scotland. The New Writers Awards provide one-on-one support for current projects, as well as guidance for the future. All of us at Scottish Book Trust look forward to the fruits of the New Writers’ projects.’
Alan Bett, literature officer at Creative Scotland, said: ‘This programme from Scottish Book Trust feeds the literature sector annually with new and exciting voices from Scotland. As in previous years, we are sure that these thirteen names will soon feature on book spines and festival programmes. The New Writers Awards go beyond providing writers with mentoring and time to develop their craft, and cover the many practical elements that are essential for a career as a contemporary writer. Many congratulations to all those selected.’
Alison Lang, director of the Gaelic Books Council, said: ‘The New Writers Awards have given a number of Gaelic writers a head start in their careers over the past ten years, and we are delighted that Andreas Woolf and Mary Ann Kennedy will join this year’s cohort and enjoy the support of Scottish Book Trust and of their peers writing in English and Scots, as well as expert advice from their Gaelic mentors. Our congratulations go to all the recipients, and we wish them well in the coming year.’
Patrick James Errington, New Writers Awardee 2020, added: ‘I’m immensely grateful to Scottish Book Trust for supporting writers who make their homes here in Scotland. In times of walls and borders, it’s an enormous gift to be so warmly adopted by one’s country and an honour to be entrusted with helping to keep alive the memory of one of its poets – I hope I can live up to the task.’
The New Writers Showcase, a celebration of work by the New Writers Awardees of 2019, will be held on 30 January at Assembly Roxy in Edinburgh. The event is an opportunity to hear some of the most exciting new talent in Scotland perform their work, as last year’s awardees mark the end of their year. More details and ticket information can be found here.
The full list of the 2020 New Writers Awardees is as follows:
Poetry: Marianne MacRae; Anne Hay; Ioannis Kalkounos.
Children’s and Young Adult: Lyndsey Croal; Krishan Coupland.
Fiction and narrative non-fiction: Shirley Gillan; Bert Thomson; Liam Hagan; Eris Young; Luca Serra.
The Callan Gordon Award: Patrick James Errington.
Gaelic: Mary Ann Kennedy; Andreas Wolff.
For more information on the Trust visit www.scottishbooktrust.com