2023 Toulmin Prize open for entries

2023 Toulmin Prize open for entries

A long-running prize celebrating new Doric writing is open for entries.

The Toulmin Prize, run by the University of Aberdeen’s Elphinstone Institute, is open to all amateur writers over the age of 16 and comes with a cash award of £500 for the winner.

It is named after one of the finest exponents of written Doric, John Reid (1913-1998), 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, under the pen name David Toulmin, he had a few articles printed in local newspapers, which led to the first of his ten books, published when he was 59-years-old. These  short stories and reminiscences, together with one novel, Blown Seed, painted a harsh picture of farm life.

In 1986, the University of Aberdeen awarded the writer with an honorary degree and the Toulmin Prize, named in his honour began in 2008.

Entries to the competition should be concerned with some aspect of life in north-east Scotland and may be written in Scots, including Doric, or English or a mixture of the two.

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.

Dr Tom McKean, Director of the Elphinstone Institute, said: “In recent years there has been a revival of interest in Doric and this a fantastic opportunity for budding writers to get creative with the traditional language of family, hearth, and home.

“Previous competitions have been hugely successful and the array of stories and styles always inspiring. I look forward to seeing the entries for 2023 and would urge anyone with a tale to tell to pick up their pen and have a go.”

A short story of up to 4,000 words in length should be submitted by May 1, 2023. An A4 hard copy and an electronic submission in Word (.doc format), 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: elphinstone@abdn.ac.uk

For more information visit https://www.abdn.ac.uk/elphinstone/public-engagement/toulmin