Booker Prize winner joins call for Scotland’s stories

Published: 07 Apr 2021

Illustration depicting people looking happy in bold colours and shapes holding signs that say celebrate your stories - the text surrounding them says celebrate your story, your way. Submit your story by 11 June. Image also contains the Scottish Book Trust logo.

Scottish Book Trust opens annual Your Stories for submissions

Booker Prize winner and Glasgow born author Douglas Stuart has joined forces with national charity Scottish Book Trust to encourage people of Scotland to submit their real-life stories. The ‘Your Stories’ campaign is open to everyone, regardless of writing experience.

This year’s theme is Celebration, with the hope of shedding light on the positives of an otherwise difficult year. The submission can be about celebrating yourself, celebrating a loved one, or sharing how you celebrate.

Douglas Stuart won the 2020 Booker Prize for his debut novel, Shuggie Bain (Picador), set in Glasgow in 1981, exploring love, poverty and pride.

Douglas Stuart said:

"As someone who grew up in a home without books, I understand the importance of stories. They bring together families, friends and communities. Your Stories is an opportunity for the people of Scotland to pick up their pen and share their experiences: from the small steps to the bigger milestones. Our nation is rich with culture, language and traditions, and this is the perfect time to celebrate and treasure them."

Submissions can be made in English, Scots, or Gaelic in any form – story, poem, comic strip, play or letter – of up to 1,000 words. Every entry will appear on Scottish Book Trust’s website and a selection of pieces will be published in a free book distributed to libraries, community groups and schools during Book Week Scotland (15 - 21 Nov 2021) – the national celebration of books and reading.

Scottish Book Trust has also commissioned authors to share their stories to mark Celebration. Author Elle McNicoll will explore her journey writing Show Us Who You Are (Knights Of)during lockdown, and the overwhelmingly positive response she has had from the neurodivergent community.

Poet Courtney Stoddart will celebrate writing as a form of resistance. Author Ross Sayers will share fond memories of his English teacher, reflecting on school as a writer now himself.

Morag Law, author of Cuibhle an Fhortain (Wheel of Fortune, Luath Press), describes the pleasures of a new garden built during lockdown, and poet Eòghan Stewart will explore celebration in a poem about joy, salvation and the many nuanced translations of the Gaelic word gàirdeachas. His first collection, Beum Sgeithe (Wing Beat), will be published by Acair Books later this year.

Marc Lambert, CEO of Scottish Book Trust said:

“Sharing stories is a great Scottish tradition: whether over a drink or around the dinner table, we have a long-established culture of telling tales for comfort or entertainment. For many, Your Stories has been the tentative first step of sharing their writing. At Scottish Book Trust, we look forward to hearing about what you have celebrated over the last year, from the small successes to the bigger milestones.”

Alison Lang, Director of the Gaelic Books Council, said:

“This year’s theme challenges us to find reasons for celebration in the midst of adversity. We hope Gaelic speakers will embrace the invitation to celebrate their language and tell their own stories – with some to be published alongside Morag and Eòghan’s pieces in this year’s Book Week Scotland publication. We are delighted once again to be working with Scottish Book Trust to encourage everyone to love reading and try their hand at writing.”

Scottish Book Trust will share a variety of prompts through their website and social networks to help inspire those hoping to submit. There will also be free, digital workshops run by poet Alice Tarbuck, writer Samina Chaudhry, playwright and poet Hannah Lavery, and film and TV writer Michael Lee Richardson.

The digital nature of the workshops will allow the writers to engage with an audience no matter their location, allowing the opportunity to be as inclusive as possible. Given the current climate, online workshops can provide the public with a safe space to be creative, supporting positive mental health and wellbeing. For more information and to sign up to a workshop, visit Eventbrite.

Celebration is open for submissions from today until Friday 11 June 2021.

Submissions can be made online via Scottish Book Trust’s website or via post to:

Celebration, Scottish Book Trust, Sandeman House, Trunk’s Close, 55 High Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1SR.