Short stories sought in honour of Doric writer

Short stories sought in honour of Doric writer

Budding writers are invited to put pen to paper and enter the Elphinstone Institute's annual short story competition, the Toulmin Prize 2014.

The competition, now in its fifth year, honours the work of 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.

The Toulmin Prize is open to all amateur writers over the age of 16. Entries 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.

In addition to a £500 cash prize, the winning entry will be published in the Leopard Magazine and subsequently featured on the website of the Scots Language Centre.

The award for the best entry will be made at the University of Aberdeen, when the winning story will be read out by the well-known north-east writer, Sheena Blackhall.

Dr Tom McKean, Acting Director of the Elphinstone Institute, said: “We are delighted to be able to honour John Reid while also stimulating and celebrating the talents of new writers from across the north-east. Previous competitions have been hugely successful and the array of stories and styles always inspiring. I look forward to seeing the entries for 2014 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 31 March 2014. An A4 hard copy and an electronic submission should be sent to Dr Tom McKean, The Elphinstone Institute, University of Aberdeen, MacRobert Building, King’s College, Aberdeen AB24 5UA. An entry form and conditions can be obtained at, or from the Elphinstone Institute.