Unpublished Scottish writer scoops double award

WINNER, iAIN mACDONALD (CENTRE) HOLDS HIS TWO TROPHIES WITH CHARLIE SCOTT (RIGHT) CHAIR OF THE SCOTTISH ARTS CLUB CHARITABLE TRUST AND SARA CAMERON MCBEAN, DIRECTOR OF THE SCOTTISH ARTS CLUB SHORT STORY AWARDS

WINNER, iAIN mACDONALD (CENTRE) HOLDS HIS TWO TROPHIES WITH CHARLIE SCOTT (RIGHT) CHAIR OF THE SCOTTISH ARTS CLUB CHARITABLE TRUST AND SARA CAMERON MCBEAN, DIRECTOR OF THE SCOTTISH ARTS CLUB SHORT STORY AWARDS

Unpublished author and drama teacher Iain MacDonald took both major prizes at the Scottish Arts Club Short Story Awards on Saturday 14 October. Iain, who says he had never shown his work to anyone before except his partner, won the inaugural £500 Isobel Lodge Award for New Scottish Writing as well as the international £800 Scottish Arts Club Short Story Competition for his story, 'The Gannet'.  Originally from Thurso, 31-year-old Iain now teaches at Linlithgow Academy.

Celebrated author and chair of the Scottish Arts Club short story judging panel, Alexander McCall Smith chose 'The Gannet' as his favourite among all the finalists, calling it 'atmospheric' and praising the 'clarity and the economy of the prose.'

The competition attracted over 400 entries from 20 countries, including more than 270 entries from writers in Scotland and 230 who qualified for the Isobel Lodge Award as unpublished writers who were born, or are living or studying in Scotland. The award is named after former Scottish Arts Club member and passionate lover of the arts, Isobel Lodge, who passed away in 2016.

The 2017 finalists: from left Kendal Delany, Iain MacDonald, Susan Gray, Jonathon Lee, Michael Gallagher, Peter Mallett and Andrew Preskey.

The 2017 finalists: from left Kendal Delany, Iain MacDonald, Susan Gray, Jonathon Lee, Michael Gallagher, Peter Mallett and Andrew Preskey.

At the awards dinner, the director of the short story competition, Sara Cameron McBean said, 'We always knew there was a possibility that an unpublished writer could win both prizes but we did not anticipate this happening in the first year of the Isobel Lodge Award, or that this new award would capture the imaginations of so many excellent undiscovered writers in Scotland.' 

Another unpublished writer, Stirling teacher Kendal Delany, won a £100 commendation for her remarkable mermaid story, 'Kept from the sea.'   A commendation was also won by university professor Peter Mallett who wrote  Immortal Memory. Peter works in Kobe, Japan and flew in especially for the awards dinner, held at the Scottish Arts Club in Edinburgh. Other finalists included Jonathon Lee, who flew in from the USA for the evening, Andrew Preskey from the Isle of Wight, Michael Gallagher from Glasgow and Susan Gray from Jedburgh. 

A very happy Tom Gordon celebrating his much deserved win

A very happy Tom Gordon celebrating his much deserved win

Club member's prize won by Tom Gordon

Tom Gordon won the Scottish Arts Club Short Story Member's Prize for his story 'Your life in their hands.'  The Club member's prize is awarded by the readers in the competition to their favourite story written by a club member. In 2017, 20 stories by club members were submitted to the competition.

All judging in the short story competition is conducted annonymously. Teams of readers review stories through successive competitive rounds. Stories that make it to the penultimate round, when the seven finalists are chosen, have been read more than 40 times - and often argued over with passion by the readers. In 2017 there were 27 readers including club members and non-members. 

ALEXANDER MCCALL SMITH PRESENTS THE 2014 AWARD TO AUTHOR SANDRA IRELAND

ALEXANDER MCCALL SMITH PRESENTS THE 2014 AWARD TO AUTHOR SANDRA IRELAND

Increased prize money in 2018

The international Scottish Arts Club Short Story Competition has been running since 2014 and in 2018 the prize money will increase to £1,000 for the international competition which is open to writers worldwide over 18 years. Alexander McCall Smith will again be picking the winning short story which may be on any topic and up to 1500 words. The competition is organised by the Scottish Arts Club Charitable Trust. All proceeds are used to support the arts in Scotland. 

For more information and stories from previous years please go to www.sacctrust.org/story

The Scottish Arts Club Short Story Competition 2018 opens for entries on 1 November 2017 and closes on 31 March 2018. Entry details at www.sacctrust.org/story