Seven Teenagers Chosen to Shape Youth Writing Conference

Category: Press Releases

For Immediate Release


Seven Teenagers Chosen to Shape Youth Writing Conference


Scottish Book Trust has today (Friday March 24) announced the names of the seven teenage writers and illustrators who have been recruited to steer the nationwide What’s Your Story? programme aimed at helping to increase opportunities for young people to access and contribute to literary culture across Scotland.


The group are representative of teen engagement with creative writing and illustration in Scotland, and include a screenwriter developing a sitcom script; two short story writers; two novelists; an illustrator with a focus on history; and a Gaelic prose writer.


This team of young writers and illustrators will be responsible for planning and hosting StoryCon 2017, Scotland’s biggest creative writing and illustration conference for young people. This free two-day event featuring workshops, panels and network-building opportunities, for up to 100 teens (aged 13 – 19) each day, will be held in Glasgow on June 24 – 25 2017. Spaces are limited, so those interested in being informed when StoryCon 2017 opens for bookings should sign up to our E-Updates here:


The programme’s participants will also work on their own creative development, benefitting from a residency with The National Library of Scotland, professional mentoring from writers working in their chosen forms and genres, and a retreat at Moniack Mhor, Scotland’s creative writing centre. Their work will be showcased at a special event in collaboration with Neu! Reekie! in September 2017.


What’s Your Story? is funded in part by the National Lottery through Creative Scotland’s Open Project Fund, and is intended to celebrate and nurture the talent and ambition of young writers and illustrators of all backgrounds, connect them with others across the country who hold similar interests, and help them shape the future of literature in Scotland. The support of The Gaelic Books Council has aided this goal through specific provision for a teen participant working in Gaelic.

The full list of the What’s Your Story? participants is as follows:


Beth Banerjee-Richards, (16), Kirkwall, Orkney Islands – short story writer

Angelina Conte, (15), Clydebank, West Dunbartonshire – screenwriter

Nathan Ezra-Jackson, (15), Edinburgh – short story writer

Sheena MacGregor, (15), Edinburgh – Gaelic prose writer

Megan McLaughlin, (16), Inverkip, Inverclyde – novelist

Georgia McLellan, (16), Kippford, Dumfries & Galloway – illustrator

Abbie Wood, (15), Oban, Argyll & Bute – novelist


The judging team, including one of the previous What’s Your Story participants, and representatives from Creative Scotland, The National Library of Scotland, The Gaelic Books Council and Scottish Book Trust carefully reviewed applications from around Scotland before selecting the final seven. Participants were selected on the enthusiasm and dedication they expressed for teenage participation in creative and literary culture.


Nicole Brandon, Young Writers Co-ordinator at Scottish Book Trust said:


“Scottish Book Trust is delighted to have chosen its seven teens to participate in the What’s Your Story? programme. The project is in its second year and puts young people, who are passionate about writing, at the heart of the decision making process. These seven teens had to convince us that they had a heartfelt belief in the importance of creative writing and illustration in the lives of Scotland’s teens, and it’s our pleasure to be demonstrating our heartfelt belief in them as they’re taking part in our ground-breaking programme.


“Scottish Book Trust is committed to developing, nurturing, and celebrating the teen literary scene in Scotland. Our aim is to support the talents and ambition of young writers and illustrators of all backgrounds, and to help them connect them with others across the country who hold similar interests and to help them shape the future of writing in Scotland. Our seven participants will now have the chance to develop creatively, create resources and opportunities for their fellow teens, and showcase the contributions and fantastic potential of Scotland’s teen literary scene. We can’t wait to support them through this journey and show everyone what they’re capable of.”


Jenny Niven, Head of Literature, Languages and Publishing at Creative Scotland said:


We are delighted to be able to support the fantastic What’s Your Story initiative. It is crucial that young people across Scotland view literature and writing as something vibrant, connected and dynamic, and that they have the opportunity to have their talent recognised and developed.


“The unique combination of activities offered by this program provides a really well rounded accelerator program which we hope will act as a springboard for this talented group. We’re also very passionate about having young people guide and shape their own arts provision and What’s Your Story is a terrific example of this in practice, with the selected group working together to devise the June conference for their peers. We’re enormously proud to be supporting the next generation of Scotland’s literary talent and look forward to seeing what they produce.


Graeme Hawley, General Collections Manager, Collections and Research Department at National of Library Scotland said:


Being involved right at the start of the creative journey for the mentees is a real privilege. It gives us the opportunity to show them, through Scotland’s national archive of publishing, the extraordinary forms that literature can take. By doing this, we hope to demonstrate to them the diversity of writing and publishing, and to show how it can become a rewarding career. We also want to show the mentees how they can make use of our collections in their creative writing, by discussing ways in which they can put to use a train timetable, or a government advice leaflet from the 1970s on nuclear war for example. It is a great opportunity to work with talented young writers and illustrators to get them thinking about the importance of research and authenticity with regard to creative writing.”


Rosemary Ward, Director of the Gaelic Books Council said:


“The Gaelic Books Council is delighted to be working in collaboration with Scottish Book Trust on the What’s Your Story? initiative. We are delighted that Sheena has been selected to be our Gaelic ambassador for 2017 and I have no doubt that she will gain a wealth of experience. Having the renowned Gaelic author, Catriona Lexy Campbell as her mentor will be invaluable in helping her to develop her writing style. We wish her all the very best and look forward to seeing her work at the showcase later in the year.”  


More information about What’s Your Story? is availableat

Anyone interested in finding out more about StoryCon 2017 should visit  


For all press enquiries, please contact Kirstie Cusick or Miriam Morris

on 0131 524 0160


Notes to Editors:


  • Scottish Book Trust is a national charity changing lives through reading and writing. Scottish Book Trust believes that books and reading have the power to change lives. As a national charity, we inspire and support the people of Scotland to read and write for pleasure.


-       We give free books to every child in Scotland to ensure families of all backgrounds can share the joy of books at home.


-       We work with teachers to inspire children to develop a love of reading, creating innovative classrooms activities, book awards and author events programme.


-       We support Scotland’s diverse writing community with our training, awards and writing opportunities


-       We fund a range of author events for the public to enjoy and promote Scottish writing to people worldwide


-       We work for a Scotland where everyone has an equal opportunity to thrive through literacy.   @scottishbktrust

  • Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland on behalf of everyone who lives, works or visits here.  We enable people and organisations to work in and experience the arts, screen and creative industries in Scotland by helping others to develop great ideas and bring them to life.  We distribute funding provided by the Scottish Government and the National Lottery. For further information about Creative Scotland please visit  Follow us @creativescots and


  • National Library of Scotland

The National Library of Scotland is a major European research library and one of the world’s leading centres for the study of Scotland and the Scots - an information treasure trove for Scotland’s knowledge, history and culture.

The Library’s collections are of world-class importance. Key areas include digital material, rare books, manuscripts, maps, music, moving images, official publications, business information, science and technology, and the modern and foreign collections. The Library holds more than 25 million items dating back over 1000 years. This includes over four million books, eight million manuscripts, two million maps and over 45,000 films and videos. Every week it collects around 4,000 new items. Around 80% of these are received free of charge in terms of Legal Deposit legislation. Further information is available at

  • Gaelic Books Council

The Gaelic Books Council is the lead organisation with responsibility for supporting Scottish Gaelic authors and publishers, and for raising the profile and reach of Scottish Gaelic Books in Scotland and internationally.