Why Apply for a New Writers Award? 3 Awardees Give Us the Lowdown

Notebook and Pens
Category: Writing

If you're thinking of applying for a New Writers Award but aren't quite sure whether to go for it or not, then be sure to read on. We asked three awardees from throughout the years to share their experiences and give us a little insight into what winning the award meant to them.

Juliette Forrest

Juliette Forrest portrait
Juliette received a New Writers Award in 2014 and her debut novel, Twister, is out from Scholastic UK now. She says:

"If you want to launch your career as a writer, don’t hesitate to apply. I never thought I’d be a recipient, but because I threw all caution to the wind, I now have a children’s novel out in the world, with another on its way. None of this would have been possible without Scottish Book Trust and it’s their on-going help which is now proving invaluable to me.

One of the many benefits to this prestigious award is the opportunity to connect with other writers in a rich and diverse, ever-growing community. Win this and you’ll soon discover it’s an award that keeps on giving."

Anna Stewart

Anna Stewart portrait
Anna received a New Writers Award in 2017 and her short stories have been published in For Books’ Sake: The Weekend Read, Riptide Journal, New Writing Dundee, and Gutter Magazine. She says:

"I’d applied for a New Writers Award a few times and hadn’t been successful. But you work harder after each rejection, it’s a time to refine and edit your work, think about craft, and importantly: read. I decided to put my hat in the ring another time, and I’m glad it took those years to succeed because when I finally got one, I was ready.

The New Writers Award has given me the confidence to take my writing seriously; now I make time for my work because I know that Scottish Book Trust has invested in me, and I owe it to them and myself to work hard. It's difficult to allow yourself creative space when you've a family and a job, but you've also got a book to write. Everyday, I think about stories and ideas: I see things and hear things, and I wonder. But now I know that I will turn that wondering into something, because that's what a New Writers Award really gives you: the courage to write."

Duncan Muir

Duncan Stewart Muir portrait
Duncan received a New Writers Award in 2018 and his poetry has been published in Poetry Review, PN Review, New Writing Scotland, The Dark Horse and Blast Furnace. He says:

"If writers were animals, we'd be snow leopards – solitary creatures, traversing vast imagined landscapes, always hunting alone and only communicating via a complex system of scrapes and scratches on rocks and tree stumps. A romantic life, for sure, but all too often the architects of our own demise. 

For me, the New Writers Award came at just the right time. Just as I was beginning to wonder whether all the energy I'd poured into this writing life over the years had been energy well spent and starting to question if I should be focussing on the day job instead. I had applied in the summer, thinking, ‘why not? What have you got to lose?' and then promptly lost myself in another term of teaching, marking, planning; another season of putting things off while my poetry collection languished in a drawer and my novel grew ever more resentful of its distracted creator. (That’s the thing about books, the longer they hang about, unfinished, the larger their disgruntled personality grows.) 

I found out I’d been selected for a poetry award in December, as the year was drawing to a close, and it's been a whirlwind so far. The other awardees are a fascinating bunch and I've already struck up a friendship with some other Glasgow-based writers met on the induction day. As someone who mainly writes in snatched moments, the week spent at Moniack Mhor was an utter luxury and one of the most productive writing weeks of my life, managing to average a poem a day. Scottish Book Trust have been awesome and it’s great to have them there, taking you, and your work, seriously. Perhaps the best thing about receiving the award is the vote of confidence it gives you – that nudge to keep writing, to make more time for writing, to make sure writing is at the centre of all you do. Just like deep down you’ve always known it should be."

Inspired and interested in applying? Find out more about applying for a New Writers Award!


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