New Writers Awards 2018: Fiona McKeracher

Children's and YA

Fiona lives in Glasgow, enjoying the vibrancy of the city. She started writing at the age of nine in a green shed at the foot of a garden. There, she dreamed of pirates, wrote poems and ran a magazine in the company of a supportive family of field mice.

After school, Fiona 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 Her passion and joy for writing for children never left her and she has written three unpublished novels – two for middle grade and one for younger readers.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 currently concentrating on her writing. She is working hard on her fourth novel aimed at the middle grade readership.

Fiona has attended night classes for writing for children at Glasgow University and a weekend residential course on writing run by Cornerstones. More recently she has attended seminars and workshops run by the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. 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.

 

Writing Sample

“The glade o’ ravens,” gasped Cal, two pink spots appearing on his cheeks. “I’ve searched for it, but never found it. I thought it was make-believe.”

As they stepped into the mossy glade, Zoey’s throat pulled tight like a drawstring pouch. She tried not to look at the dark, cloaked shapes, perched on the branches of the circling trees.

“Cal, let’s go!”

“No yet. I want some photos.”

Zoey kept well out from the trees, as far away as possible from the birds with the impossibly long beaks. A brooding stillness hung in the glade as if something had been disturbed. It was like the feeling she got after tossing a coin into an old well.

She advanced over to a pale grey stone, prickles gathering in the nape of her neck. It stood about a metre high, scabbed by yellow lichen. The face of the slab was etched with strange, looping verse. She knelt to see the words more clearly.

“Cal,” she called out. “This must be an old graveyard.”

He appeared at her shoulder. “Naw, it’s no a gravestone.” he said, squinting at the wording on the stone. “It’s the old forest legend my Gran used to go on about.” 

She quickly checked that the ravens had not ventured closer and began to read out loud, her voice breathy:

When the evil o’ men darkens the forest,

Listen out hard for the ravens’ chorus,

Their hearts are true, tho’ shadow made,

You’ll find them deep in the velvet glade.

Jabbering broke out from the branches. Wings flapped and folded in again.

 

Fiona says:

"It’s still sinking in. I’m extremely grateful for this award, which will help me develop as a writer. Thank you!"