2023 Doric Toulmin Writing Prize is open for entries

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A long-running award celebrating Doric’s new writing is open to entries.

John Reid (1913-1998) wrote under the name David Tolmin
John Reid (1913-1998) wrote under the name David Tolmin

The Toulmin Prize, run by the University of Aberdeen’s Elphinstone Institute, is open to all amateur writers over the age of 16 and comes with a cash prize of £500 for the winner.

It is named after one of Doric’s best written exponents, John Read (1913-1998), an Aberdeenshire farm laborer from Rathen, near Fraserburgh, who spent most of his life working long hours for very small rewards.

In odd moments he penned short stories, character studies, and anecdotes alike.

Eventually, under the pseudonym David Toulmin, he had a few articles printed in local newspapers, which led to the publication of the first of his ten books when he was 59 years old.

These short stories and reminiscences, along with one novel, Blown Seed, painted a harsh picture of farm life.

In 1986, the University of Aberdeen awarded the writer with an honorary degree and initiated a Toulmin Prize named in his honor in 2008.

Entries for the competition must be concerned with some aspect of life in the North East of Scotland and may be written in Scots, including Doric, English or a combination of the two.

The prize for best entry will be awarded at the University of Aberdeen, where the winning story will be read by well-known North-Eastern writer Sheena Blackhall.

Dr Tom McCain, Director of the Elphinstone Institute, said: “In recent years there has been a revival of interest in Doric and this is a wonderful opportunity for emerging writers to get creative with the traditional language of the family, hearth and home.

“Past competitions have been hugely successful and the range of stories and styles has always been inspiring.

“I look forward to seeing the entries for 2023 and would urge anyone with a story to tell to pick up their pen and go.”

A short story of up to 4,000 words must be submitted by May 1, 2023.

An A4 hard copy and electronic submission in Word format (.doc format) should be sent to Dr. Thomas A. MacKean is Director of the Elphinstone Institute, University of Aberdeen, MacRobert Building, King’s College, Aberdeen AB24 5UA.

Email: elphinstone@abdn.ac.uk

visiting https://www.abdn.ac.uk/elphinstone/public-engagement/toulmin for more information.

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