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Neil Gunn Writing Competition 2023/24

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Results of the Neil Gunn Writing Competition 2023-24

Following the award ceremony which took place on 12 June 2024, High Life Highland and the Neil Gunn Trust can publish the results of the 2023-24 Neil Gunn Writing Competition. We send our warmest congratulations to all the winners and grateful thanks to the judges, sponsors and everyone who entered. We look forward to the next competition which we hope to launch in September 2025. The themes are always quotes from the works of Neil Gunn, to whose memory we dedicate this competition.

This year’s lead judge was the author Merryn Glover, who lives in the Highlands of Scotland.

Adult sections

Sponsor: All the prizes in the adult sections of the competition were sponsored by GlenWyvis Distillery Goodwill Fund.

This year’s theme for the adult sections of the competition was a quote from Bloodhunt “Mystery.  That was the last word, the word you came to at the end.  No corner of its coverlet could you lift.”

Adult Poetry results

The judges were Alasdair MacEwen and Anita Murray

1st prize: Fiona Ritchie Walker for “Migration”.

2nd prize: Ann MacKinnon for “Mystery”.

3rd prize: Don J Taylor for “Outflow”.

Adult Short Story results

The lead judge was the writer Merryn Glover, assisted by Marilyn Sneddon, Kenny Taylor and Charlotte Macarthur

1st prize: Rachel Carmichael for “Natural History”.

2nd prize: Mairi MacLeod for “Daffodils”.

3rd prize: Mary Anne Spence for “Out”.

Highly Commended: Heather F. Reid for “Ghosts”.

Commended: Craig Aitchison for “The High Seat”; David McVey for “The Transition of Mother Madge”; Don J Taylor for “Roll of Honour”.

Schools sections

Secondary schools results

The judges were Sya Bruce and Alison Massie

The sponsors were The Lydia Michael Trust and High Life Highland

Secondary pupils were given a theme from Highland River “A moment of sheer unconditional delight”.

1st prize: Chloe Evans, Charleston Academy for “Summers at Dalnabreac”.

2nd prize: Rosie Conroy, Charleston Academy for “Achfary”.

3rd prize: Sarah Turner, Inverness High School for “The Reflection”.

Highly Commended: Aspen Eveleigh, Dingwall Academy for “From Fish to King”.

The High Life Highland prize for best secondary school entries overall was awarded to Charleston Academy.

Primary School results

The judges were Michelle Gowans and Cheryl Irons

The sponsor was The Lydia Michael Trust

The theme for the primary competition was A journey to another world”, from The Serpent

1st prize: Emily Mair, Cradlehall Primary for “My Memories”.

2nd prize: Tilda Lawlor, Ullapool Primary for “Afterlife”.

3rd prize: Matthew Stranraer-Mull, Cradlehall Primary for “The Zodiac Warriors”.

Commended : Morgan Parker, Farr Primary for “Candlelight”.

Commended : Denver Stewart, Obsdale Primary for “Deep Fried Mars Bar”.

The Lydia Michael Prize for best overall Primary School entries is awarded to Cradlehall Primary.

Primary School Winners – Feedback from the Judges.

List of sponsors

We are most grateful for the support provided by the following organisations:

The Black Isle & Dingwall and Seaforth Ward of The Highland Council

The GlenWyvis Distillery

The Lydia Michael Trust

High Life Highland

The Neil Gunn Trust

Thank you one and all.

The next Neil Gunn Writing Competition is scheduled to launch in September 2025.

For all enquiries about the competition, please email [email protected] or telephone the Library Support Unit on 01349 781340. Further information on the work of the Neil Gunn Trust can be found at www.neilgunntrust.org.


High Life Highland The Lydia Michael Trust logo The Goodwill Fund Glenwyvis Distillery The Highland Council