Winning wordsmiths to see work published

The winners of a prestigious writing competition, who will now share their work with readers across Scotland, were unveiled at the Word Festival today (Sunday May 15).

Aspiring young wordsmiths have been given the opportunity to become published authors through the What’s the Story? competition.

Now in its seventh year, the popular contest invites secondary school pupils from across Aberdeen city and shire to pen their own short story, this year based on the theme of Lost for Words.

The competition is a partnership between Word – the University of Aberdeen Writers Festival – and the Arts Education Teams of Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Councils.

A panel of judges sifted through the entries and selected the top ten stories which will now be published by Wordfirsts – the only publisher in Scotland dedicated to publishing the work of young people.

The winning stories are from:

Jess Smith, Age 12, Inverurie

Kirsty Fraser, Age 14, Ellon

Katie Fleming, Age 15, Aberdeen

Heather Evans, Age 17, Peterhead

Anya Morrice, Age 14, Aberdeen

Esther Dickson, Age 15, Aberdeen

Alfie Watson-Brown, Age 12, Stonehaven

Kirsty Watt, Age 14, Aberdeen

Findlay Douglas, Age 13, Ellon

Craig Tornes, Age 14, Inverurie

They were presented with a Waterstone’s voucher at a special Word event on Sunday where last year’s winners of the competition also saw their work in print for the very first time with the unveiling of their publication ‘Something to Celebrate’.

What’s the Story?invited pupils to let their imaginations fly. They found creative ways to respond to the theme with tales of triumph over adversity and family ties.

The presentation formed part of the Marathon Oil Children’s Festival, which runs alongside the main Festival, with dozens of free events from storytelling to the creation of a play in day and exploration of the Cruickshank Botanical Gardens.

Alison Parfitt, Aberdeen City Council Cultural Co-ordinator, said: “This year we received entries from 32 schools across Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire, and the standard was once again top class.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for young people to become published authors and they should be proud of what they have achieved.”

“The anthology produced with last year’s winning entries is superb and showcases the talent of budding young authors here in the north-east. I’m now looking forward to seeing the work of the 2011 winners in print.”

Jill Burnett, Coordinator of the Marathon Oil Children’s Festival, said: “The Children’s Festival at Word is designed to fire young imaginations and it is fantastic to see the wonderful work young people can produce with the right inspiration.

“Word enjoys an excellent relationship with the Arts Education Teams of Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Councils and we were delighted to be able to showcase the Wordfirsts publication.”

Copies of ‘Something to Celebrate’ as well as previous Wordfirsts titles are available from the Arts Education Team on 01224 814533 or