New Writers Awards for Aileen Ballantyne and Duncan Stewart Muir

Scottish Book Trust has announced new awardees for the New Writers Awards, for talented Scottish writers who have not yet published a full length collection, including poetry awards for Poetry Society Members Aileen Ballantyne and Duncan Stewart Muir

Aileen Ballantyne is a national newspaper journalist turned poet. She was the staff Medical Correspondent for the Guardian, then The Sunday Times. She is now working on her first poetry collection after completing a PhD in Creative Writing and Modern Poetry at the University of Edinburgh. Her investigative journalism has twice been commended in the British Press Awards and her news features on Aids in The Sunday Times won the Erskine Hospital (David Boyle) Memorial award in the Scottish Press Awards. In 2015 Aileen won first prize in the Mslexia Poetry Competition, and the short poem category at the Poetry on the Lake Festival at Orta St Giulio in Italy.

Duncan Stewart Muir undertook his MLitt in Creative Writing at The University of Glasgow. His poetry has been published in The Poetry Review, PN Review, New Writing Scotland, Blast Furnace and In Protest: 150 Poems for Human Rights. He has hosted live literature nights in Liverpool and Glasgow, performed at the Edinburgh International Book Festival and been shortlisted for the Bridport Prize for Poetry.

Each of the recipients will receive a £2,000 cash award and support tailored to their needs including mentoring from writers and industry professionals, training in public relations, social media and performance, and the opportunity to showcase their work to publishers and agents. The awards also include the offer of a week-long writing retreat at Moniack Mhor. The retreat provides time, space and the freedom to create new work in idyllic surroundings.

Marc Lambert, CEO of Scottish Book Trust, said:

“We’re delighted to welcome the next batch of New Writers Awardees. Writing can be a challenging process, and the New Writers Awards provides one-on-one support for current projects, as well as guidance for the future. All of us at Scottish Book Trust look forward to the fruits of the New Writers’ efforts and the expansion of the Scottish literary scene.”

Alan Bett, Head of Literature, Languages and Publishing, Creative Scotland, said:

“The New Writers Awards develop our emerging literacy talent through tailored mentoring and training at this crucial stage in their career, and in doing so contributes to the strength of Literature in Scotland. Through winning the award, winners have often grown ever more recognisable and have taken their place amongst the ranks of Scotland’s established and celebrated authors – a list that now includes previous winners; Graeme Macrae Burnet, Kirsty Logan and Helen Sedgwick.”

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17 January 2018