Please click on the links below to read all of the winning entries:-
Author: Jane Morris
Title: ‘Nine Tails’
Author: Ashleigh Angus
Commendation for fiction
Author: Ines Dominique Kirschner
Author: Caitlin Millar
Title: ‘Earth Under Foot
Commendation for non-fiction
Author: Darryl Peers
Title: ‘Mither Tap’
Commendation for fiction
Author: Lily Greenlaw
Title: ‘Faerie Pools’
Literary Lights Prize for Creative Writing 2019
The Grassic Gibbon Centre is delighted to announce that the 2019 award for the third annual Literary Lights Prize for Creative Writing, held in conjunction with the University of Aberdeen, has been given to Jane Morris, for her story ‘Nine Tails’.
This year’s competition, open to all matriculated students of the university, invited submissions of prose fiction or creative non-fiction that take inspiration from the theme of inner struggles that lead to self-discovery, or to a deeper understanding of the world – a central feature of Lewis Grassic Gibbon’s characterisation of Chris Guthrie in the trilogy A Scots Quair.
From a final short-list of four pieces, the judges were unanimous in their decision that ‘Nine Tails’ should be awarded the prize, as a beautifully crafted piece with a sparing narrative and a genuinely unpredictable – and poignant – twist at the close. The sensitivity with which the emotional complexities of bereavement are uncovered fulfilled the competition’s brief in an enduringly thought-provoking way.
Jane was welcomed to a presentation lunch held at the Grassic Gibbon Centre on Thursday 18 July by Chairman of Directors Jim Brown, Literary Director Dr William Malcolm and Manageress Isabella Williamson, with the University of Aberdeen being represented by Rebecca Buchan of the University Development Trust.
Literary Lights Prize for Creative Writing 2018
The Grassic Gibbon Centre Literary Lights Prize for Creative Writing 2018, the second competition held in association with the University of Aberdeen, emulated the spectacular success achieved in the first year of the award. While the number of entries was slightly reduced from that of 2017, the range and quality of work submitted was of an equally high standard, inspiring a broad range of responses to the remit to address themes of time and change.
After due deliberation, from a shortlist of four outstanding pieces, the judges declared the overall winner ‘Unknown, Unknown, death c.1629’ by Ashleigh Angus from Australia. This visceral recreation of the institutionalised inhumanity of a witch-burning in Orkney in the seventeenth century with its deft bridge with the present day shocks us out of our contemporary complacencies through its vividly immersive powers of description. The judges also selected for formal commendation ‘Shell’ by Ines Kirschner, a claustrophobic exploration of the fragility of the human psyche and of the search of one individual to escape the lasting impact of a past trauma on her whole being.
The awards ceremony held with an invited audience at the Grassic Gibbon Centre on the afternoon of Saturday 16 June 2018 welcomed special guests from the University of Aberdeen who had been instrumental in establishing and organising the competition, open to all matriculated students at the university: Prof Ali Lumsden, current Chair of English; Dr Wayne Price, Tutor in Creative Writing; and Kelly Anderson of the university Development Trust. Local musician Geordie Murison provided apt renditions of traditional ballads, but the stars of the afternoon undoubtedly were Lily Greenlaw and Darryl Peers, commended for their submissions in 2017, and Ashleigh Angus, winner of the award in 2018, all of whom gave the audience fascinating insight to their writing and read tantalising snatches from their winning entries.
Literary Lights Prize for Creative Writing 2017
Lewis Grassic Gibbon was just 23 years old when, as plain James Leslie Mitchell, he won the short story competition that gave him his first break as a writer. The Grassic Gibbon Centre was delighted therefore to set up in his name The Grassic Gibbon Centre Literary Lights Prize for Creative Writing with our ‘local’ University of Aberdeen, with the objective of encouraging aspiring writers to exercise their talents with the written word.
The response was everything we hoped for in the first year of the competition – fittingly, the 25th anniversary of the Centre’s foundation in Gibbon’s home turf of Arbuthnott in the Mearns. From a gloriously kenspeckle range of entries addressing the brief to explore the relationship between people and place – one of Gibbon’s key concerns – the judges eventually settled on a shortlist of three outstanding pieces, any one of which would have been a worthy recipient of the inaugural award.
In an extremely tight, but unanimous, verdict, the judges representing the University of Aberdeen and the Grassic Gibbon Centre finally identified the winner as Caitlin Millar’s beautifully crafted saga of family exile ‘Earth Underfoot’, while formally commending Darryl Peers’s witty and piercing examination of Scottish roots and identity, ‘Mither Tap’ and Lily Greenall’s luminous and subtle tale ‘Faerie Pools’.
This has proved to be one of the most stimulating and rewarding ways of honouring Grassic Gibbon’s legacy here in the Northeast, and the Centre is tremendously excited to be involved in helping to foster the literary lights located in the Northeast.
Literary Lights Winners
Jim Brown, Jane Morris (Winner), Dr.William Malcolm
Dr.William Malcolm, Literary Director of the Centre, introduces
the evening’s prize winners.
2018 Overall Winner
Jim Brown presents Ashleigh Angus with her trophy.
2017 Non-Fiction Commendation
Jim Brown presents Darryl Peers with his Trophy.
2017 Fiction Commendation
Jim Brown presents Lily Greenlaw with her trophy.
Prize winners, literary experts and local dignatories.