New Scottish writers celebrated in award showcase

To celebrate the 10th year of the Scottish Book Trust’s New Writers awards, writers, publishers and avid readers came together on the evening of January 24 to listen to new writers perform their work at the Jam House on Edinburgh’s Queen Street.

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Attendees at the event

 

The evening before Robert Burns night seems like the perfect opportunity to celebrate some of the newer talents in Scotland. The Scottish Trust’s New Writers Awards serve to highlight new writing from across Scotland and different genres — whether it be fiction and narrative non-fiction, poetry or children’s and young adult fiction.

In order to truly celebrate Scottish culture, the award also honours two Gaelic writers every year.

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Scottish playwright and host for the event Douglas Maxwell

 

“The rhythm of life is what is being written now” – Douglas Maxwell

Award-winning Scottish playwright, and host to the event, Douglas Maxwell describes the night as an “intricate and inspiring chorus of what is going on now”.

The wide array of work showcased definitely reflected this statement. The performances ranged from emotional personal stories of tackling death, mental health and racism to cheeky poems about people charging their phones in pubs to text their mums.

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New Writers Award Winner 2018 – Rhona Warwick Patterson

Douglas Maxwell was also keen to highlight the importance of holding these awards. In what can be a difficult and at times isolating industry “these awards provide hope and faith” for aspiring writers.
  • Children’s and Young Adult – Sheila M. Averbuch and Bobby Finn
  • Poetry – Henry Bell, Rachel Rankin and Alice Tarbuck
  • Fiction – Angela Drinnan, Heather Palmer, Ross McCleary and Sarah Smith
  • Narrative Non-Fiction – Nick Summers

Glasgow writer and editor Henry Bell won an award for his poem:

 

Greater and Lesser Winter
 
That full ripe Glasgow sun
is warming up the courgettes and smashed TVs
in my back court
The sky is black to my left
bright blue to my right – it rains against itself
and the drops dry on the warm concrete
Summer must be taken seriously
in Glasgow where limbs hang out of windows
thrilled to be as bright as the sun
Summer must be taken seriously
when it comes short and sharp
and fills your mouth with the taste of rain

Photos by Iona Young

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