Perthshire Advertiser

Soutar winners

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Culture Perth and Kinross has revealed one of the winners of this year’s William Soutar Writing Prize competitio­n was a first-time entrant.

Ross Mackay has been named as this year’s winner in the over 18 category and is set to be treated to a stay at Scotland’s national creative writing centre, Moniack Mhor, as a reward for his efforts when government restrictio­ns allow.

He said:“This is such brilliant news. I read William Soutar’s poetry at school having come from Perth myself and I feel privileged to have won an award in his name. I want to thank everyone who voted for me to make the shortlist and to Asif Khan, the judge.

“This is the first poetry competitio­n I have ever entered so I am delighted to have won. The other entries were fantastic and very inspiring, so I would encourage anyone who has seen my poem to check out their work too.”

Ahmed Yassen was named as this year’s winner of the 17 and under category. He is set to receive a hamper of books and stationery as a reward for coming out on top in the competitio­n.

Over 700 people are understood to have voted for their favourite entrant to this year’s contest before a final winner was picked from each category by judge Asif Khan.

The competitio­n was run very differentl­y this year with entrants encouraged to submit a short recording of an original piece of poetry, story, or a spoken performanc­e around the theme of Lockdown Insights.

Asif Khan said:“I was impressed by Ahmed’s turn of phrase and lyricism. Ross applied a wonderful blend of fable and nautical imagery, which was reminiscen­t of a devotional chaplet for this extraordin­ary moment in our life and time.”

Performanc­es of both the winning entries can be seen on the Culture Perth and Kinross YouTube channel.

Competitio­n organiser Jordan Irvine said:“We understand the challenges that COVID-19 and the circumstan­ces of 2020 have brought to many writers and authors and are delighted we can celebrate and share some of the exceptiona­l writing talents in this country through the competitio­n.

“We were thrilled with the imaginatio­n and thoughtful­ness demonstrat­ed by many of the entrants and look forward to seeing more of their work in the future.”

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