John Young named winner of Scottish Teenage Book Prize 2019

Category: Press Releases

John Young, author of Farewell Tour of a Terminal Optimist, has been named winner of the Scottish Teenage Book Prize 2019. Now in its third year, the award was set up to celebrate the most popular teen books by authors in Scotland. The Scottish Teenage Book Prize is run by Scottish Book Trust, the national charity transforming lives through reading and writing, and is supported by Creative Scotland. Young people in schools and libraries across Scotland voted for their favourite title.

Farewell Tour of a Terminal Optimist (Kelpies Edge) tells the story of terminally ill Connor Lambert, who sets off on a crazy tour across Scotland dodging the police, joy riding and looking for answers. The story beings in Stornoway, and the novel explores friendship, identity and morality, with a dose of good humour. Farewell Tour of a Terminal Optimist combines the authenticity of John Green with the energy of Irvine Welsh.

John, originally from Belfast, began to write his debut novel when his daughter was receiving chemotherapy. Verity passed away in 2009, and since then John has found solace in writing and cycling. In 2013, he received a New Writers Award from Scottish Book Trust. John also helped his wife establish a children’s charity called The Teapot Trust, based in Musselburgh, which provides art therapy to children in hospital who are suffering from Lupus and related conditions.

As part of his prize, John will receive £3,000 whilst the shortlisted authors, S.M Wilson for The Extinction Trials and Kerr Thomson for The Rise of Wolves, will receive £500 each. The winner of the Scottish Teenage Book Prize 2019 was revealed at North Berwick High School’s library, through a special announcement film, including an acceptance speech from John Young.

John Young said:

“Every now and then something really special happens to us all and today it was my day. I am immensely grateful to readers around the country who took part in The Scottish Teenage Book Prize and voted for Farewell Tour of a Terminal Optimist. It is a story that says you are all important in this life and I feel honoured and privileged to have been part of this book prize, thank you to everyone involved.”

Marc Lambert, CEO of Scottish Book Trust, said:

“Congratulations to John Young from all of us at Scottish Book Trust. It’s always wonderful to see one of our New Writer Awardees take the next step in their career, and Farewell Tour of a Terminal Optimistis an exciting, fast-paced story that has clearly struck a chord with young readers across Scotland.”

As well as voting, aspiring young filmmakers were asked to get involved with the Scottish Teenage Book Prize 2019 by creating their own book trailer for one of the shortlisted titles or entering a graphic novel to create a comic strip adaption of a scene from one of the books. Scottish Book Trust provides extensive learning resources for teachers and librarians on how to create book trailers and how to make the most of using comics in the classroom.

The 2019 winners are as follows:

Graphic Novel Competition Winners

1st Place, Sophia Bokor and Ellis Cockburn (Moray)

2nd Place, Beth Pyott (Kilmarnock)

3rd Place, Conor Webster, Johannes Kanger and Euan Harris (Aberdeenshire)

Book Trailer Competition Winners

Winner: Sophie McIntosh (Kilmarnock)

Highly commended:

Sophia Bokor (Moray)

Amy Errington and Claudia Spencer (Moray)

Waterstones have generously provided this year’s prizes, with £250 worth of vouchers for the winning school of the book trailer, and £25, £15 and £10 for the graphic novel winners.


Notes to Editors

For media enquiries please contact Keara Donnachie, Press Officer at Scottish Book Trust, on or 0131 524 0184.

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

Creative Scotland

In addition to general fundraising, Scottish Book Trust receives Creative Scotland support through Regular Funding. 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