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New Writer 2019: Bobby Finn

Children's and YA

Bobby Finn has had a variety of careers. He’s been one of the world’s finest lion tamers, a distinguished hot air balloonist and the seventh fastest man alive. He’s also been a consistent and unashamed fantasist. When he’s not creating imaginary lives for himself he spends his time working as a radio producer. His work has included making documentaries for BBC World Service on the Russian comedy scene, surfing in Hawaii and the rise of African Hip Hop. He has written radio scripts for comedians such as Rich Hall, Miles Jupp and Mel Giedroyc.

He was one of the scriptwriters on the third series of the BAFTA award-winning CBBC show The Dog Ate My Homework. He’s even written and performed a one-man show at the Edinburgh Fringe called Dear Dan Brown that got three stars. Having decided to take up novel writing seriously ten years ago, he is now one of Scotland’s worst overnight successes. He was shortlisted for the Scottish Book Trust’s New Writer Award in 2016 and is currently gob-smacked that, not only has he not been found out, but has managed to go one step further and be named as one of the 2019 Awardees.

Writing Sample


Alan Smith did not have 300 teeth. He could not play the glockenspiel with a potato, he did not invent the hedgehog and there was nothing particularly exciting about his trousers. He was quite simply a very ordinary little boy.

He was called Alan Smith for a start. Obviously Alan is a nice enough name in its own right and Smith is very popular with people called Smith, but when you put them together they’re about as exciting as a cardboard sandwich. It didn’t help that nearly everyone else had interesting names these days. You couldn’t walk down the street without meeting some kid called Gladstone or Shoebox or Riceface. Take his classmates for instance. There were no Susans, Brians or Johns but there was a Tyler, a Savannah, a couple of Caspars and a Eustace. There was even a girl called Oscar. Mind you, she kept a teapot as a pet so her name was the least interesting thing about her. But Alan was simply Alan Smith from Dumphie.

Dumphie was a boring little town that clung to the outskirts of Edinburgh like a small coin teetering on the edge of a table. By the way, ‘teetering’ may sound like a rude word but I can assure it’s not. I even checked with the government, and it’s fine, so stop teetering at the back! Anyway, what was I talking about? Oh yes, Alan.

Alan Smith from Dumphie. No middle names. No frills. Just plain old Alan Smith. In fact nearly everything about Alan’s life was ordinary. That was until one very ordinary night, at the end of one very ordinary day, in the middle of one very ordinary week, something quite extraordinary happened…

Bobby says:

"It may seem a little over-dramatic to call this opportunity life-changing but that’s what this award genuinely is. Not because it is the promise of fame and riches but because it provides real affirmation and recognition of all the endless hours of hopeful scribbling that we nascent writers do. Thanks be to Scottish Book Trust.”