Scottish Book Trust Announces Recipients of New Writers Awards 2018

Category: Press Releases

Scottish Book Trust, the national charity transforming lives through reading and writing, has supported over 90 creative individuals through the New Writers Awards since 2009. Today, Scottish Book Trust announces the 10 new awardees for this prestigious prize, which is supported by Creative Scotland.

The New Writers Awards provide a selection of talented writers who have not yet published a full length book or collection with financial support, to enable them to concentrate on developing their work, as well as professional guidance to help them move towards publication. Former awardees include Graeme Macrae Burnet, who was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2016, and authors Ciara MacLaverty, Olga Wojtas, Juliette Forrest, Kirsty Logan, Malachy Tallack and Claire Askew, who have publications out this year.

Each of the 10 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.

Five authors from Glasgow have been nominated for the 2018 New Writers Awards: Duncan Stewart Muir, an English teacher; Fiona McKeracher, a writer; Eilidh McCabe, a copywriter and content editor; Mary Fitzpatrick, a retired teacher and Rhona Warwick, a freelance writer.

Four authors from Edinburgh have also been nominated: Aileen Ballantyne, a tutor at Edinburgh University; Nadine Aisha Jassat, a gender-based violence professional; Beth Cochrane, programme and events coordinator at Scottish Poetry Library and A.E Daly, a software developer.

Samantha Clark, an online tutor and visual artist from Orkney, has also been selected for the 2018 New Writers Awards.

The three judging panels reviewed over 450 submissions which included fiction and narrative non-fiction, poetry and children’s/young adult entries, before selecting the final 10. This year’s judges included Asif Khan, Director of the Scottish Poetry Library, and writers Chitra Ramaswamy, Kevin MacNeil, Cheryl Follon, Matthew Fitt, Peter MacKay and Julie Bertagna.

The Gaelic Books Council provides two additional places on the programme which will support two New Gaelic Writers each year.

Support for an additional place is also generously provided by The Callan Gordon Award, which was set up by his family to celebrate the life of Callan Gordon, a young Scottish writer. The Callan Gordon Award is open to short story writers and poets between the ages of 18 and 35.

The full list of the 2018 New Writers Awardees is as follows.

Photos of the New Writer Awardees 2018 are available to download here.



Aileen Ballantyne

Rhona Warwick

Duncan Stewart Muir


Children’s and Young Adult

A. E. Daly

Fiona McKeracher     


Fiction and Narrative Non-Fiction

Samantha Clark         

Beth Cochrane                                   

Mary Fitzpatrick         

Nadine Aisha Jassat                          

Eilidh McCabe



Alistair Paul

Calum MacKinnon


The Callan Gordon Award

Sasha Thanisch


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, Literature Officer, Creative Scotland, said:

“The New Writers Awards develop our emerging literary 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.”


Nadine Aisha Jassat said:

“I am really thrilled to receive this award and have my work recognised, supported, and invested in by Scottish Book Trust. It’s an incredible honour to be selected and I would encourage future applicants to apply, apply, apply!”

The New Writers Showcase, a celebration of work by the New Writers Awardees of 2017, will be held tomorrow (18 January 2018) at The Jam House in Edinburgh. The event is an opportunity to hear some of the most exciting new talent in Scotland perform their work, as last year’s awardees mark the end of their year. More details and ticket information can be found here.




For all media enquiries, please contact Press Officer Keara Donnachie: or 0131 524 0184.


Notes to Editors

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.

Nadine Aisha Jassat is a writer and poet whose work bridges connections between the arts and social justice. Her work has been published online and in print, including in 404 ink’s acclaimed

Nasty Women, the Dangerous Women Project, and New Writing Scotland. Her pamphlet, Still, was launched at the Scottish Poetry Library in 2016, and her spoken-word piece Hopscotch was made into a film-poem by award-winning filmmaker Roxana Vilk, and has been shown at festivals across the UK. In 2017, Nadine was named as one of thirty inspiring young women under thirty in Scotland.

Beth Cochrane is the winner of the Sloan Prize; a prestigious Edinburgh University award given to a fiction writer working in Scots dialect. She was part of City of Literature’s Story Shop 2016 programme, where she was given the opportunity to perform her fiction at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. Beth regularly performs at live literature events, and produces spoken word shows through her spoken word night, Interrobang (co-produced by Ricky Monahan Brown), which won Best Regular Spoken Word Night at the Saboteur Awards 2017.

A.E Daly grew up in York, studied in Glasgow and now lives and works in Edinburgh. She is currently completing her first novel for young adults, Devil-Glass, and working on its sequel, with further writing projects developing.

Sasha Thanisch was born and raised in Edinburgh. He has a deep connection to the city and its social dynamics which often play into his writing, along with the experience of work, gender constructs and religion. Marginality and psychic dislocation are core themes of his writing, which tend to have a strong political motivation. He has written several short stories, a draft of a novella and is currently working on the manuscript of a full novel. A couple of stories in student magazines are so far his only publications.

Duncan Stewart Muir undertook his MLitt in Creative Writing at The University of Glasgow. His poetry has been published in 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.

Fiona McKeracher qualified as a lawyer, writing in her spare time and holidays. Her passion and joy for writing for children never left her and she has written three unpublished novels – two for middle grade and one for younger readers. Fiona is working hard on her fourth novel aimed for the middle grade readership. Her achievements include being shortlisted for Scottish Book Trust’s 2016 New Writers Awards and being longlisted for the New Children’s Author Prize run by the National Literacy Trust, in partnership with Bloomsbury Children's Books in December 2014.

Eilidh McCabe studied Creative Writing MLitt at Glasgow University.  Since then, she has been shortlisted for the Mslexia Short Story Competition,’s annual competition and Glasgow University’s Science Fiction and the Medical Humanities short story competition. Her essay Paper was published by the Dangerous Woman Project. She is the short fiction editor for the Glasgow Review of Books. Professionally, Eilidh works as a copywriter and content editor, specialising in travel writing. She was one of the writers on the upcoming edition of Fodors’ Guide to Scotland, due for publication in 2018.

Mary Fitzpatrick studied English at Glasgow University and worked as an English teacher, so she didn’t really return to her first love until she was given early retirement in 2010. Since then she has taken several creative writing courses: an Open University creative writing module and two at Strathclyde University, ‘Taking Your Writing Further’ and ‘Keep Writing’. Mary also took part in Donnie O’Rourke’s poetry writing group and attended a writing weekend through the Arvon Foundation. Mary was runner up in The Jane Austen short story award 2011; winner of The Lightship short memoir prize 2013, the judge of which was Rachel Cusk; runner up in The Fish short memoir prize 2013; runner up in the Jane Austen short story award in 2015.

Rhona Warwick studied sculpture at The Glasgow School of Art and established her practice in text-based works. In 2007 she published her first book, Fantoun, about a phantasmagorical sister-city to Glasgow. In 2016, she was commissioned by artists Edmund de Waal and David Ward to respond to their exhibition WaveSpeech at The Pier Art Gallery in Orkney. This resulted in her first poem Lipper due to be published by Wunderkammer Press in Feb 2018.

Since then, she has continued to write poems for numerous artists, including the poem Fear is Here Death is Close for Clare Woods’ recent solo show at Dundee Contemporary Arts and her recent poem Tethered for the sculptor Tessa Lynch. Both are included in her first pamphlet PUTTY published by Slo-Mo Books in 2017.

Having finally found her voice, Rhona will perform Tethered in London at Cubitt Gallery for The Drivers Seat, an event celebrating the centenary year of Muriel Spark’s birth in February 2018.

Samantha Clark writes narrative nonfiction and recently completed a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of St Andrews, for which she was awarded the Samuel Rutherford Thesis Prize. Samantha has published in Terrain.Org, Antennae, EcoArt Scotland and Dark Mountain, as well as a pamphlet ‘Dark Matter’, the result of a residency at Timespan, Helmsdale in 2015. For several years Samantha taught at Edinburgh College of Art, and then was Reader in Art at the University of the West of Scotland before moving to Orkney in 2016.


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 though 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


Creative Scotland

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