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.”