Toulmin Prize Book Launch 

Thursday 18 November 2021, 6:30pm

Book here for the launch event of the Toulmin Prize publication, Dinna Mess wi the Popo & other stories of the North-East of Scotland, with readings and interviews, and featuring Sheena Blackhall.

Order a copy of the Toulmin Publication here


Toulmin Prize 2021

Unfortunately we have decided to postpone the Toulmin Prize for 2021, but it will be back in 2022. Please keep checking this site for more details.

Toulmin Prize 2020

Prizewinning story The Catch by Ewan Gault

Congratulations to Ewan Gault, an English teacher at a sixth form college in Tottenham, London.

His winning story is read by Sheena Blackhall.

You can read the winning story The Catch here



The judges of the Toulmin Prize found that the standard of entries was particularly high this year, and have made a commended award to Marka Rifat, a retired communications officer from Stonehaven, for Into the Sweet. You can read the story here.


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 later in the year. (Previous winners cannot submit an entry).

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.'

Previous Prize-winners

Toulmin Prize 2019

The Toulmin Prize 2019 is now closed. Congratulations to our winner, Lyly Lepinay, and to the commended writers, Rae Cowie, Ruth MacLure, Mike Moir, and Anna Neil.

Click on the respective titles to read the stories on the Scottish Field website:

Toulmin 2019 prizewinner Lyly Lepinay with her family
Toulmin 2019 prize-winner Lyly Lepinay with her family
About David Toulmin

David 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.