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Press release: Search begins for young teen writers and illustrators

Published September 2019

Man sat on a wall and writing in a notepad

Scottish Book Trust, the national charity transforming lives through reading and writing, has today announced that applications are open for their What’s Your Story? programme. Now in its fifth year, the scheme has so far assisted around 30 young people from across Scotland to develop writing, illustration and performance projects.

14 – 17 year olds living in Scotland are encouraged to apply for this all expenses paid opportunity to learn, grow and create as a writer or illustrator. Alongside traditional applications by young people themselves, this year adults are also encouraged to refer those who are passionate advocates of teenage participation in creative and literary culture tthey think are suitable for the programme. For the first time this year, teens can choose to submit a video highlighting why they should be selected for the programme, or complete the written application form.

Teens selected for the programme will take part in an induction weekend at the National Library of Scotland to gain inspiration for their personal work, and will also be paired with a professional mentor who will work with them over six months. As part of What's Your Story?, the teens will take part in a week-long retreat at Moniack Mhor, Scotland's Creative Writing Centre, where they will have dedicated time with their mentors. The participants will also plan and host StoryCon 2020, Scotland’s biggest creative writing and illustration conference for 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 private donors and The Gaelic Books Council funds a Gaelic-language place. What’s Your Story? is free to take part in and travel expenses are covered for all participants.

Applications close on 27 November, and can be made online at thestoryis.co.uk/storyboard

Marc Lambert, CEO of Scottish Book Trust, said:

“Nurturing new young talent in the Scottish literary scene is so important and Scottish Book Trust is proud to launch the fifth year of What’s Your Story, focused on supporting young people. The programme offers a truly unique opportunity and we urge parents and teachers to encourage the teens in their lives with a passion for writing or illustration to apply."

Alison Lang, Director of The Gaelic Books Council, said:

"The Gaelic Books Council is always keen to support writers of any age, but it’s particularly important to encourage the next generation, and through this programme a young Gaelic speaker will get the opportunity to make their voice heard and express themselves in a creative way that allows them to develop their skills and confidence. We’re delighted to be working with the Scottish Book Trust again this year, and we hope to hear from young writers from all parts of Scotland."

Beccie, What's Your Story participant 2019, said:

“I would really encourage everyone to apply to the What's Your Story? programme. The mentoring is amazing, Scottish Book Trust really think about what story you want to tell, and what you want to learn during the programme and then match you with someone perfect. I think it's really important that young people's voices are heard, and through organising StoryCon we had the chance to define exactly what we wanted to learn!"

Notes to editors:

For all press queries, please contact Press and PR Manager, Keara Donnachie: keara.donnachie@scottishbooktrust.com(this will open in a new window) or 0131 524 0184

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.

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.

National Library of Scotland

The National Library of Scotland is a major European research library and one of the world’s leading centres for the study of Scotland and the Scots - an information treasure trove for Scotland’s knowledge, history and culture. The Library’s collections are of world-class importance. Key areas include digital material, rare books, manuscripts, maps, music, moving images, official publications, business information, science and technology, and the modern and foreign collections. The Library holds more than 26 million items dating back over 1000 years. This includes over fifteen million printed items, eight million manuscripts, two million maps and over 45,000 films and videos. Every week it collects around 4,000 new items. Around 80% of these are received free of charge in terms of Legal Deposit legislation.