Six Lothian Residents Win National Writing Competition

Hannah Lavery from Dunbar has had her story included in a special book entitled Scotland’s Stories of Home. Hannah’s story ‘Threads’ will feature alongside entries from 33 other winners and author contributors such as Alan Warner, Vic Galloway, Kirsty Logan and Beatrice Colin.

Hannah, who lives and works in Dunbar as the creative director of CoastWord Festival, wrote a story that reflects her family’s cultural heritage.

Hannah said: “This is the third time I have been lucky enough to be included in the annual book for Book Week Scotland and it is thrilling to think of my work being part of such a wonderful project for writers and readers in Scotland.”

Five Edinburgh residents will also be published in the book. They are: Seonaid Cook, writing as Shona Cook, who submitted ‘Home Run’, a story that recounts a train journey from Edinburgh to London in which she ponders her feelings about the Scottish Referendum. “The project was timely,” Seonaid said, “helping me confront complex feelings about where I belong after changes in family and career and discussions around the independence referendum. I’m excited, if a little nervous, to see my work in print for the first time since I set out to be a writer.”

Sine Kay Harris, a student at the University of Glasgow, submitted ‘Shell’, a story about finding ‘home’ in amongst the bookshelves of Edinburgh’s public libraries. Commenting on the publication of her story, Sine said. “I think the Scotland’s Stories of Home project is a really wonderful opportunity to give the people of Scotland a chance to speak for themselves about what this country we all call home means to them.”

Laura Clay, an editor for the Raspberry Pi Foundation, submitted ‘A Story of Homecoming’. Her story explores her experience of getting to know Edinburgh again after eight years of living down south. Laura said, “The Stories of Home project has meant a great deal to me; having moved back to Edinburgh after eight years away, it’s been a good way of reconnecting with the city I love. I feel very lucky to be included in the book. It’s the first time my writing has been published, and I’m hoping my other work will be similarly successful in future!”

The other Edinburgh winners were Julie Morrice, a music teacher living in Newington, with her poem ‘Travelling Home’ and Lorna Malone, a copywriter for an investment company, with her short story ‘A Potful of Home.’

Scotland’s Stories of Home also features original commissioned contributions from some of the best-loved names in Scottish arts and literature, including Alan Warner, Des Dillon and a special contribution in Gaelic from Catriona Lexy Chaimbeul.

The competition was held by Scottish Book Trust, the leading agency for the promotion of literature, reading and writing in Scotland, to celebrate the third year of Book Week Scotland (24 – 30 November 2014) and encouraged members of the public to express in writing what ‘home’ as a place or a concept means to them. Contributions included poems as well as prose that tell tales of childhood, communities, family life, travel and food.

More than 150,000 free copies of Scotland’s Stories of Home will be gifted to people throughout the week. The books will be distributed in local bookshops, public libraries, prisons, hospitals, visitor information centres, ferry terminals and train stations.

Sophie Moxon, Acting Director of Scottish Book Trust said, “Scotland’s Stories of Home has given people of all ages living in Scotland a chance to express in writing what ‘home’ means to them. We received hundreds of submissions from members of the public, sharing beautifully unique stories of home as a place and a concept and are delighted to be able to give away 150,000 free copies of this wonderful book for Book Week Scotland 2014.”

All the entries to the Scotland’s Stories of Home campaign can be read here:

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Suse Coon

Suse Coon started life training to be an architect but ended up as a fashion buyer then civil servant. After some time out to bring up her family of three, she returned to what had been a hobby and entered the field of freelance journalism. After becoming regional correspondent, then editor of the orienteering magazine CompassSport, she formed Pages Editorial & Publishing Services. In this guise, West Lothian Life was launched, while Suse maintained a level of freelancing and wrote the award winning children's novel Richard's Castle. In 1999, Suse bought over CompassSport and found her time taken up pretty well exclusively with the two magazines. In 2004, West Lothian Life was expanded to form Lothian Life, however, the workload was too great. In 2006, CompassSport was sold and Suse concentrated on the web version of Lothian Life. Her hobbies include gardening, orienteering, sea kayaking and Tai Chi.

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