Scottish Book Trust Launches Search for Teen Writers & Illustrators

Teenagers preparing for an interview at Edinburgh International Book Festival
Category: Press Releases

Scottish Book Trust has launched a search for Scottish teens who want to develop their talents in creative writing or illustration and help build the teen literary scene in Scotland.

Now in its third year, What’s Your Story? is seeking seven young people aged between 14 and 17 years old with enthusiasm for developing as writers or illustrators. This can include prose, poetry, storytelling, illustration, graphic novel writing, song-writing, writing for TV and film, journalism, blogging and writing for video games and more.

Applicants whose work is not in English are also encouraged to apply, and one Gaelic-language place, funded by The Gaelic Books Council, is part of this year’s group.

What’s Your Story? was originally funded by Time to Shine, Creative Scotland’s national youth arts strategy and is the first nationwide programme of its kind in Scotland. This year it is supported by the Big Lottery Fund’s Young Start programme, which celebrates and nurtures the talent and ambition of young writers and illustrators of all backgrounds, connecting them with others across the country and helping them shape the future of writing in Scotland.

The seven chosen teenagers will act as ambassadors for What’s Your Story? while they develop their skills and knowledge in their chosen creative form. For 2017, the programme includes a residency in the National Library of Scotland, professional mentoring, a creative retreat, programming the teens creative writing conference StoryCon, and a feature showcase event.

What’s Your Story? is free to apply for and take part in, and interested 14-to-17-year-olds from all over Scotland are encouraged to apply. Travel expenses will be covered for all participants.

StoryCon, Scotland’s biggest creative writing and illustration conference for 13-to-19-year-olds, has been attended by over 300 people since its inception. The conference is designed and organised by the teenage ambassadors from the What’s Your Story? programme, ensuring the event is run for teenagers, by teenagers.

StoryCon workshops run last year included those by Marc Pye, a BAFTA-winning author and screenwriter; Kate Leiper, an artist and illustrator who has worked for the Scottish Storytelling Centre and Royal Lyceum Theatre; Nadine Aisha Jassat, a poet, performer and first ever writer in residence for YWCA Scotland; and Keith Gray, an award-winning author of children’s and Young Adult fiction.

Any young writers or illustrators who are interested in taking part in the What’s Your Story? programme should visit for more details. The closing date for applications is Monday 16 October 2017.

Marc Lambert, CEO of Scottish Book Trust, said:

What’s Your Story? is a unique development programme for teenage writers and illustrators, which is tailored to their creativity and  open to a very wide range of disciplines. We are not expecting experienced and established creatives, we are looking for young people with a keen interest and lots of enthusiasm.

“Taking part is a great opportunity as it not only nurtures creative talent but also builds confidence and networks among young people, and empowers them to organise and be enterprising. It’s a wonderful chance for them to grow their talent and bond with like-minded young people.”


Jackie Cromarty, Manager of Web and Public Programmes at the National Library of Scotland, said:

“We’re thrilled to be involved once again in the What’s your Story? project. We’ve very much enjoyed opening up our collections to this year’s group of young writers and seeing the various directions in which they have taken our material in relation to their own work.

“It’s a real privilege to work with such a committed and enthusiastic group of young people, and we find that we are just as much inspired by them as they are by our collections. We are looking forward to welcoming a new group of writers to the Library and to seeing what they are able to create from all the wonderful material we have here.”


Maureen McGinn, Big Lottery Fund Scotland Chair, said:

What’s Your Story? presents a unique opportunity for budding young writers to come together to explore and nurture their creative talent. This programme is a great example of the type of activity which Young Start funding makes possible. Working with a diverse range of young people, it will develop skills and confidence, as well as ensuring that their voices are heard.”


Rosemary Ward, Director of Gaelic Books Council, said:

“The Gaelic Books Council is delighted to be collaborating with Scottish Book Trust on this the third year of the What’s Your Story? programme. This exciting competition encourages imaginative young adults to express their creativity in any genre and in a media of their choosing and we are pleased to be sponsoring a place on the programme for a young Gaelic speaker.”


Notes to editors:



Scottish Book Trust

Scottish Book Trust is a national charity changing lives through reading and writing. We inspire and support the people of Scotland to read and write for pleasure through programmes and outreach work that include:

  • Gifting books to every child in Scotland to ensure families of all backgrounds can share the joy of books at home.
  • Working with teachers to inspire children to develop a love of reading, creating innovative classroom activities, book awards and author events.
  • Supporting Scotland’s diverse writing community with our training, awards and writing opportunities.
  • Funding a range of author events for the public to enjoy and promoting Scottish writing to people worldwide.   @scottishbktrust


Young Start, Big Lottery Fund

  • The Big Lottery Fund supports the aspirations of people who want to make life better for their communities across the UK. We are responsible for giving out 40% of the money raised by the National Lottery and invest over £650 million a year in projects big and small in health, education, environment and charitable purposes.
  • Since June 2004 we have awarded over £8 billion to projects that change the lives of millions of people. Every year we fund 13,000 small local projects tackling big social problems like poor mental health and homelessness.
  • In September 2011 the Scottish Government formally issued instructions to the Big Lottery Fund to distribute dormant accounts funding for the benefit of Scotland’s voluntary and community sector.
  • Dormant accounts are defined in the Dormant Bank and Building Society Accounts Act 2008 as those which have seen no customer-initiated activity for at least 15 years.
  • Since the National Lottery began in 1994, £34 billion has been raised and more than 450,000 grants awarded.


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.


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

What's Your Story?