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Winners Announced In Prestigious Neil Gunn Writing Competition

13th June 2024

Photograph of Winners Announced In Prestigious Neil Gunn Writing Competition

People of all ages have been sharing their literary talents by taking part in the Neil Gunn writing competition, with awards being presented to the winning authors at a special ceremony at Strathpeffer Pavillion yesterday (12th June 2024).

Taking place every two years, the Neil Gunn Writing Competition is organised by the Neil Gunn Trust in partnership with High Life Highland.

The aim of the competition - which is open to people of all ages and abilities - is to encourage budding authors to follow in the footsteps of Neil Gunn and put pen to paper and share their works with a wider audience. The competition gives writers the opportunity to write on a theme - which is always based on a Neil Gunn quote - and to have their work read and judged by established authors.

This year's lead judge was author Merryn Glover, first ever Cairngorms National Park writer in residence. She said: "It has been a rare pleasure to read the entries for this year's competition. The range of subject matter, ideas, styles and use of language was broad and rich, and testimony to the diversity of Scotland's literary tradition. The winning stories were captivating in very different ways; Neil Gunn would have been proud."

Charlotte Macarthur of the Neil Gunn Trust commented: "As one of Scotland's greatest writers, it is really important to keep the memory of Neil Gunn alive. We are always delighted to be able to work with High Life Highland to deliver the competition and particularly wish to thank the GlenWyvis Distillery Goodwill Fund, The Highland Ccouncil Ward 8 and the Lydia Michael Trust for their invaluable support of the 2023/24 competition."

Julie Corcoran, Head of Libraries at High Life Highland said: "High Life Highland is absolutely delighted to be involved in the Neil Gunn Writing Competition. We are very proud of our long association with the event and see it as a really good way of engaging - particularly young people - in the world of books and stories, inspiring young writers to express their creativity through the written word. Very many congratulations to all the winners."

The winners are....

Adult Short Story:

1st ‘Natural History' by Rachel Carmichael.
2nd ‘Daffodils' by Mairi MacLeod.
3rd ‘Out' by Mary Anne Spence.

Highly Commended - ‘Ghosts' by Heather Reid.

Commended - ‘The transition of Mother Madge' by David McVey; ‘The High Seat' by Craig Aitchison; ‘Roll of Honour' by Don J Taylor.
Adult Poetry:

1st ‘Migration' by Fiona Ritchie Walker.

2nd ‘Mystery’ by Ann MacKinnon.

3rd ‘Outlfow’ by Don J Taylor.

Secondary Schools:

1st ‘Summers at Dalnabreac’ by Chloe Evans, S3, Charleston Academy.

2nd ‘Achfary’ by Rosie Conroy, S3, Charleston Academy.

3rd ‘The Reflection’ by Sarah Turner, S6, Inverness High School

Highly Commended -
‘From Fish to King’ by Aspen Eveleigh, S4, Dingwall Academy.

Primary Schools:

1st Emily Muir, Cradlehall Primary School.

2nd Tilda Lawlor - Ullapool Primary School.

3rd Matthew Stranraer-Mull, Cradlehall Primary School.

Commended – Morgan Parker, Farr Primary School; Denver Stewart, Obsdale Primary School.

From 13th June the full results of the competition will be available on the High Life Highland competition webpage where you can also read the winning entries

There is also more information to be found on the Neil Gunn Trust website

Neil Miller Gunn(8 November 1891 – 15 January 1973) was a leading Scottish novelist, critic, and dramatist with over twenty novels to his credit. He is considered to be one of the most influential Scottish fiction writers of the first half of the 20th century.

Merryn Glover is an award-winning writer of fiction, drama and poetry with several published novels and stories and plays broadcast on BBC radio. Her most recent book is ‘The Hidden Fires: A Cairngorms Journey with Nan Shepherd’.