Scottish Book Trust Launches Search for New Writing Talent

Category: Press Releases

Scottish Book Trust has announced that applications for the New Writers Awards 2012/13 are now open. With an additional three awards available this year, a total of 11 unpublished writers will be given the opportunity to pursue their dream of a career in writing.

The New Writers Awards are managed by Scottish Book Trust in association with Creative Scotland and will provide 11 new, unpublished writers with financial support to enable them to concentrate on their work, as well as professional guidance to move towards publication.

Each winner will receive a £2000 cash award, as well as a tailored package including mentoring from writers and industry professionals, training in Public Relations, Performance and the opportunity to showcase work to publishers and agents.  All winners will also attend a week long retreat at Cove Park, which will provide them with time and space to work in idyllic surroundings.

Applications for the New Writers Awards are open to Scotland-based writers who have not published a novel, short story or poetry collection and have a strong commitment to developing a career in writing.

In order to provide the best possible support, the New Writers Awards are now divided into four different categories – fiction, Scots, poetry and children’s. The two poetry awards will be run in association with the Scottish Poetry Library. Writers may only apply for one category, with the exception of short story writers or poets between the ages of 18 – 35 who are additionally eligible for the Callan Gordon Award for New Writers.

Caitrin Armstrong, Writer Development Manager at Scottish Book Trust, said:  

“There are many talented unpublished writers living in Scotland who are looking for help and support. Applications for the New Writers Awards are increasing every year, so we are really delighted to be able to provide 3 additional awards this year, to give a total of 11 talented writers the time and space to develop their work and reach an audience.”

This is the fifth year that Scottish Book Trust has managed the New Writers Awards and so far the process has proved hugely successful in terms of developing new writer’s careers. Confirmed 2012 publications by previous New Writers include Furnace by Wayne Price (Freight Books); Bevel by William Letford (Carcanet) and The Daemon Parallel by Roy Gill (Floris Books).

Roy Gill was accepted on to the awards to work on a novel for young adults in 2009. He was paired with mentor Lindsey Fraser, an agent from Fraser Ross Associates. Roy was shortlisted for the Kelpie Prize and his first novel The Daemon Parallel was published by Floris Books on March 22nd 2012. Roy said of his experience:

“They listened to my problems; found me a mentor who clearly liked my writing, and understood the genre I was working in; and checked in every so often to make sure things were going well.  It’s been an invaluable experience, that’s left me a stronger, more confident writer.”               

Scottish Book Trust New Writers can also be found in the programmes of the Edinburgh International Book Festival, Aye Write, Stanza, Margins Book and Music Festival, and Words per Minute, amongst others.

William Letford, recipient of a 2008/09 New Writers Award, feels that the support he received had a hugely positive impact on his writing career:

“There’s an initial surge of confidence when you receive the New Writer’s Award, and that confidence is important. But really the award is about support. Scottish Book Trust has maintained constant contact with me over the years. They’ve passed opportunities my way and offered advice when necessary. The New Writer’s Award, to me, has been invaluable.”

William’s poetry collection, entitled Bevel, will be published by Carcanet in August 2012.

Dr Gavin Wallace, Portfolio Manager for Literature, Publishing and Language at Creative Scotland, said:

“The New Writers’ Awards afford a unique opportunity to emergent writers across Scotland, and can act as a real stepping-stone in progressing writers’ careers, both creatively and professionally.  Creative Scotland is delighted to invest in and endorse these important Awards.”

Scottish Book Trust is also currently working with the Gaelic Book Council on a project which supports two New Gaelic Writers.


Some facts about the New Writers Awards:

  • 11 unpublished writers will be selected this year. Decisions will be announced in December 2013.  
  • There are 11 Awards available in total - 4 fiction Awards, 2 poetry Awards, 2 Scots Awards, 2 children’s Awards and the Callan Gordon Award.
  • The Callan Gordon Award for New Writers has been set up to celebrate the life of Callan Gordon, a young Scottish Writer. Callan's family have generously supported the award which will provide an additional place for young short story writers and poets.
  • The selected New Writers will have three months to work on their material before meeting with Scottish Book Trust to discuss their professional development support.
  • Any writer over the age of 18 may apply as long as they fulfil the criteria.


Information about the 2012/13 New Writers can be found here 


Notes to Editors:

  • Scottish Book Trust is the leading agency for the promotion of literature, reading and writing in Scotland. It develops innovative projects to encourage adults and children to read and write, supports professional writers with a range of projects including skills development and awards, funds a variety of literature events and promotes Scottish writing to over 10 million people worldwide.




Pauline Kelly

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