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Press release: Scottish Book Trust announces recipients of New Writers Awards 2020

Published January 2020

Scottish Book Trust today announces 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 Coordinator 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, said:

"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.

Notes to Editors

For all media enquiries, please contact PR & Marketing Manager Keara Donnachie: keara.donnachie@scottishbooktrust.com(this will open in a new window) or 0131 524 0184.

The full list of the 2020 New Writers Awardees is as follows:


Children’s and Young Adult

Fiction and Narrative Non-Fiction

The Callan Gordon Award


Scottish Book Trust

Scottish Book Trust is a national charity changing lives through reading and writing. We inspire and support the people of Scotland to read and write for pleasure through programmes and outreach work that include:

In addition to the funding we receive from the Scottish Government and Creative Scotland, we need the constant support of trusts and foundations, corporate sponsors and individual donors.

Creative Scotland

Scottish Book Trust is supported by Creative Scotland through Regular Funding. Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland on behalf of everyone who lives, works or visits here. We enable people and organisations to work in and experience the arts, screen and creative industries in Scotland by helping others to develop great ideas and bring them to life. We distribute funding provided by the Scottish Government and the National Lottery. For further information about Creative Scotland please visit www.creativescotland.com(this will open in a new window), or follow Creative Scotland Twitter(this will open in a new window) or Creative Scotland Facebook(this will open in a new window).

The Gaelic Books Council

The Gaelic Books Council is the lead organisation with responsibility for supporting Scottish Gaelic authors and publishers, and for raising the profile and reach of Scottish Gaelic books in Scotland and internationally. Find out more on the Gaelic Book Council website(this will open in a new window) or visit Gaelic Book Council Twitter(this will open in a new window) or Gaelic Book Council Facebook(this will open in a new window).