The Scottish Book Trust has today announced the seven teenage writers and illustrators who will join the What’s Your Story? programme.
Now in its fourth year, the scheme from the national charity – transforming lives through reading and writing – has so far assisted over 20 young people from across Scotland to develop writing, illustration and performance projects.
The young people selected for the What’s Your Story? programme, aged from 14-17 years old, include poets, illustrators and writers.
The teens were selected by a judging team, which included one of the previous What’s Your Story? participants, and representatives from Creative Scotland, The National Library of Scotland, The Gaelic Books Council and Scottish Book Trust.
Participants were selected on the enthusiasm and dedication they expressed for teenage participation in creative and literary culture.
The participants recently received an induction programme with the National Library of Scotland, where they had the chance to research their chosen subject and gain inspiration for their personal creative works.
They have also taken part in a week-long retreat at Moniack Mhor, Scotland’s creative writing centre, where they had dedicated time with their mentors. Poet Jenny Lindsay, writers Alex Nye and Helen McClory, illustrator Julia Scheele and Gaelic writer Maureen Macleod assisted the young people in their specific creative fields. The mentors will continue to work with the young people for the duration of the programme.
As part of What’s Your Story?, the participants will plan and host StoryCon 2019, Scotland’s biggest creative writing and illustration conference for young people. Last year, this took place in Glasgow and was attended by over 100 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 Badenoch Trust, Kiran’s Trust and The Hugh Fraser Foundation, as well as other trusts and private donors. What’s Your Story? is free to take part in and travel expenses are covered for all participants. The
Gaelic Books Council also funds a Gaelic-language place.
The full list of the What’s Your Story? participants is as follows:
Performance poet, Beccie White, from Edinburgh; Performance poet, Devin McRoberts from Paisley; Short story writer, Nicole Foreman, from Dornoch; Illustrator, Sara Oussaiden, from Isle of Skye; Author, Skye Ailun Peng, from Glasgow; Author, Andrew Pettigrew, from Hamilton; Gaelic writer, Ailbhe Murphy, from Glasgow.
Marc Lambert, CEO of Scottish Book Trust, said: ‘Scottish Book Trust is pleased to launch the fourth year of the What’s Your Story? programme, highlighting new and upcoming talent in the Scottish literary scene.
‘We are grateful to our funders, for making this programme possible, and also to our mentors for providing life-changing support and advice to the young people. We look forward to seeing the work they produce throughout the year.’
Alison Lang, Director of The Gaelic Books Council, said: ‘Comhairle nan Leabhraichean is delighted to be supporting another young Gaelic writer on this year’s What’s Your Story? programme, and it’s exciting to discover new voices among a generation of Gaelic-medium pupils who have grown up with Gaelic books and aspire to add their own stories to the contemporary canon.
‘We are grateful to Bòrd na Gàidhlig and Creative Scotland for supporting our work in promoting Gaelic literature, and pleased to have this opportunity to collaborate once again with Scottish Book Trust.’
Sara Oussaiden, from the Isle of Skye, said: ‘I believe that there aren’t enough opportunities in rural areas to encourage the growth of creativity in young people. When I was told about the What’s Your Story? programme, I thought I should apply and see what would happen. My goal is to not only develop my own skills for a career, but encourage others that writing and illustrating is a massive part of Scottish culture that should be kept alive.’