Gaelic New Writers Awards

Access the Gaelic version of this page here

Scottish Book Trust, in association with the Gaelic Books Council, is looking for two talented and committed writers to participate in the Gaelic New Writers Awards 2019. The Gaelic New Writers will each receive £2,000 to allow them to spend time focussing on their writing. Over the next year they will also receive a tailored package which can include mentoring, professional development training or manuscript appraisal, and there will be an opportunity for Awardees to read their work at an industry showcase event in Edinburgh.

Our 2019 Gaelic New Writer Awardees are June Graham and Liam Alastair Crouse.

 June Graham portrait  Liam Crouse portrait

June Graham


Liam Alastair Crouse


Funding package

Awardees will receive a cash award of £2,000, as well as additional development support. This support may take the form of mentoring from experienced writers and industry professionals, training in PR, performance and presentation, and the opportunity to showcase work to agents and publishers. Also included is a week-long retreat at Moniack Mhòr, which will provide time, space and the freedom to create new work.

The selected Gaelic New Writers will have three months to work on their material before meeting with representatives of Scottish Book Trust and the Gaelic Books Council to determine the type of professional development support that will be suitable for them as an individual and for their chosen project.

Eligibility Criteria

Any writer over the age of 18 may apply providing they fulfil the following criteria:

  • You must live in Scotland for the duration of the award period.
  • You must not have published a novel, narrative non-fiction book (e.g. biography, memoir or travel writing) or a collection of short stories or poems. However, if your work has only been self-published, digitally published or published in a pamphlet, you may apply. If your work has only been published as part of an anthology/magazine or as part of an academic text (e.g. research papers, academic journal, textbook), you may still apply.
  • You must be able to demonstrate a strong commitment to developing your writing in Scottish Gaelic.

You are not eligible to apply if:

  • You have already received a Scottish Arts Council New Writers Bursary, a New Writers Award, a Gaelic New Writers Award or a Next Chapter Award.
  • You are in receipt of a Creative Scotland Artist’s Bursary, fellowship or residency, or another form of Creative Scotland or Gaelic Books Council funding intended for your development as a writer.
  • You are a writer registered on Scottish Book Trust’s Live Literature database. (Illustrators and storytellers registered on the database may apply to work on writing if they fulfil the criteria).
  • You have a book publishing deal already in place. If accepted onto the Gaelic New Writers Awards scheme, you will be required to confirm that you do not have any form of publishing deal in place.
  • You wish to focus on plays/drama – the Gaelic Books Council works in partnership with Playwrights’ Studio Scotland to offer an annual Gaelic New Playwright Award.
  • You are in formal education (accredited school, university, PhD or college courses, both part-time and full-time). If you are taking part in summer schools, evening classes or community education classes you may apply. If you accept a place on a formal education course during the awards period you must return the award and withdraw from the programme.
  • You are a staff member at Scottish Book Trust or the Gaelic Books Council.


How to apply

  • Please read our eligibility criteria carefully.
  • Fill in a Gaelic New Writers Awards 2019 Application form following the guidelines included.
  • Please send a sample of either fiction/narrative non-fiction or poetry – do not send a mixture of both. You should send a sample of the type of writing you wish to work on if you receive an award.
  • Fiction is imaginary or invented prose, which can include short stories and novels.
  • Narrative non-fiction is a form of writing that is stylistically similar to fiction but used to tell factual stories, e.g. memoir, travel writing and biography. This does not include textbooks, guidebooks or standard non-fiction history books.

For fiction or narrative non-fiction, your application should include:

  • A writing sample (Scottish Gaelic only). This can include short stories or an extract from a longer piece of work. (Word limit: 3,500 words.)
  • If your sample is an extract from a longer piece of work, please include a synopsis. (Word limit: 500 words.)
  • Your writing sample and synopsis should be font Arial, size 12, double-spaced. The pages must be numbered and your pen-name (not your real name) must be on each page.
  • Your pen-name will only be used for the purposes of anonymising entries to this competition.

For poetry, your application should include:

  • A writing sample (Scottish Gaelic only). This can include up to 10 poems but should be no more than 10 pages in total.
  • Your writing sample should be font Arial, size 12, single-spaced. The pages must be numbered and your pen-name (not your real name) must be on each page.
  • Your pen-name will only be used for the purposes of anonymising entries to this competition.

Assessment process

Applications will be assessed by a panel made up of members of the Gaelic Books Council’s Board. In the interest of fairness at the assessment stage, the names of applicants will not be divulged to the panel – applicants will be identified only by their pen-names. Applicants will be informed of the panel’s decision by the end of January 2019.



Applications should be emailed to: with ‘Gaelic New Writers Awards’ and your name in the subject line.


Applicants without access to e-mail may send hard copies of their applications to:


Mairi MacCuish

Literature and Publishing Officer

The Gaelic Books Council

32 Mansfield Street


G11 5QP




If you have any questions about this project, please contact:

Mairi MacCuish, Gaelic Books Council at



Previous Awardees


2010: Niall O’Gallagher (poetry) & Ishi MacLean (fiction)

2011: Sandy NicDhòmhnaill Jones (poetry) & Maureen Macleod (travel writing)

2012: Christine Stone (prose & children’s fiction) & Seonaidh Charity (fiction)

2013: John Urquhart (fiction) & Seonaid Macdonald (fiction)

2014: Calum MacLeod (fiction) & Steven Ritchie (fiction)

2015: Greg Thomson (fiction) & Morag Ann MacNeil (children’s fiction)

2016: Eoghan Stewart (poetry) & Jane MacLeod (fiction)

2017: Morag Law (fiction) & Marion F. Morrison (poetry)

2018: Alistair Paul (fiction) & Calum MacKinnon (fiction)



Meet last year's awardees:

Alistair Paul
Calum Portrait
Alistair Paul

Calum MacFhionghain /

Calum MacKinnon

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