Toulmin Prize 2020

Rules of Entry

The Toulmin Prize is open to amateur writers over the age of 16. The story should have a North-East focus, and may be written in Scots, including Doric, or English, or a mixture of the two. The winner will receive a £500 prize, and the story will be read by well-known North-East writer, Sheena Blackhall, at a University of Aberdeen event in the Spring. (Previous winners cannot submit an entry).

Please send your entry to reach us by 31 March 2020. Entries, along with the entry form, should be sent to Dr Thomas A. McKean, Director, The Elphinstone Institute, University of Aberdeen, MacRobert Building, King's College, Aberdeen, AB24 5UA. E-mail:

Entry Form for Toulmin Prize 2020

Toulmin 2019 prizewinner Lyly Lepinay with her family

About David ToulminDavid Toulmin at his typewriter

John Reid (1913–1998) was an Aberdeenshire farm labourer from Rathen, near Fraserburgh, who spent most of his life working long hours for very small rewards. In odd moments he jotted down short stories, character studies, and bothy tales. Eventually, as David Toulmin, he had a few articles printed in local newspapers. The first of his ten books was published when he was 59 years old. His work consists mostly of short stories and reminiscences, with his one novel, Blown Seed, painting a harsh picture of farm life. In his later years he moved to Pittodrie Place in Aberdeen (later to Westhill) and was awarded an honorary degree by the University of Aberdeen in 1986.

About the Toulmin Prize

The Toulmin Prize, established in 2008 and awarded annually, is a short-story prize commemorating the work of one of north-east Scotland's finest exponents of written Doric. There is a cash prize of £500 for the winning entry. The award for the best entry will be made at the University of Aberdeen, where the winning story will be read out by the well-known north-east writer, Sheena Blackhall.

Emeritus Professor Ian Russell, former Director of the Elphinstone Institute at the University of Aberdeen, says: 'We’re proud to be able to honour John Reid and his work in this way. His writing is powerful, evocative and witty, and he is one of the finest exponents of writing in the North-East. We have had a terrific response to the previous competitions and the standard of entries has been superb.'