Gaelic New Writers Awards 2022 – Applications

The Gaelic Books Council, in association with Scottish Book Trust, is looking for two talented and committed writers to participate in the Gaelic New Writers Awards 2022.

The deadline for all applications is 12.00 noon, Wednesday 14th July 2021

Download the application form here

It is free to apply for the awards and all travel expenses are covered. Awardees are chosen by a panel of judges. Further support may be available for awardees with any barriers to full participation. The programme is flexible and we work closely with awardees to help them participate as fully as possible.

The Awards will run from January 2022-January 2023. During the programme, awardees receive:

  • A £2,000 cash award (paid in two instalments) to support their writing in whatever way suits best
  • A week-long retreat offering time, space and the freedom to create new work in idyllic surroundings (subject to current Covid-19 circumstances)
  • Tailored creative development opportunities, which can include mentoring from writers and industry professionals
  • Press and Marketing, social media, performance and presentation training
  • The opportunity to showcase work to publishers and agents
  • A year’s free membership to the Society of Authors and a bespoke training session for awardees on contracts and rights
  • A free place on a 3-day Glasgow Caledonian University accredited Gaelic editorial skills course
  • The chance to meet and engage with a group of writing peers.

The selected Gaelic New Writers will have three months to work on their material before meeting with representatives of the Gaelic Books Council and Scottish Book Trust to determine the type of professional development support that will be suitable for them as an individual and for their chosen project.

Eligibility Criteria

You may apply if you fulfil the following criteria:

  • Aged 18 or over
  • Based in Scotland for the duration of the award period.
  • Able to demonstrate a strong commitment to developing your writing in Scottish Gaelic.
  • Haven’t yet published a novel, narrative non-fiction book (e.g. biography, memoir or travel writing) or a collection of short stories or poems, or a graphic novel (our panel will consider scripts without images for graphic works). However, if your work has only been self-published, digitally published or published in a pamphlet, you may apply. If your work has only been published as part of an anthology/magazine or as part of an academic text (e.g. research papers, academic journal, textbook), you may still apply.

You are not eligible to apply if the following applies to you:

  • Have previously received a Scottish Arts Council New Writers Bursary, New Writers Award, Gaelic New Writers Award, Callan Gordon Award or Next Chapter Award.
  • Currently in receipt of another award from Scottish Book Trust or Creative Scotland or Gaelic Books Council funding intended for your development as a writer.
  • Are planning to be in full or part-time education during the course of the award (January 2022 – January 2023). Short courses and evening classes are fine.
  • Are a writer registered on Scottish Book Trust’s Live Literature database. Illustrators and storytellers registered on the database may apply to work on writing if they fulfil the criteria.
  • Already have a book publishing deal in place. If accepted onto the Gaelic New Writers Awards scheme, you will be required to confirm that you do not have any form of publishing deal in place.
  • Want to focus on plays, screenplays or radio plays – the Gaelic Books Council works in partnership with Playwrights’ Studio Scotland to offer an annual Gaelic Playwright Award.
  • Are a staff member at Scottish Book Trust or the Gaelic Books Council.

By submitting your application, you’re confirming you meet the criteria to the best of your knowledge. Anyone who doesn’t meet the criteria will be deemed ineligible and may be asked to withdraw their application or return the award.

Any questions or concerns? Email [email protected]

How to apply

  • Please read our eligibility criteria above carefully.
  • Fill in a Gaelic New Writers Awards 2022 Application form following the guidelines included.
  • Please send a sample of either fiction/narrative non-fiction or poetry – do not send a mixture of both. You should send a sample of the type of writing you wish to work on if you receive an award.
  • Fiction is imaginary or invented prose, which can include short stories and novels.
  • Narrative non-fiction is a form of writing that is stylistically similar to fiction but used to tell factual stories, e.g. memoir, travel writing and biography. This does not include textbooks, guidebooks or standard non-fiction history books.

For fiction or narrative non-fiction, your application should include:

  • A writing sample (Scottish Gaelic only). This can include short stories or an extract from a longer piece of work. (Word limit: 3,500 words.)
  • If your sample is an extract from a longer piece of work, please include a synopsis. (Word limit: 500 words.)
  • Your writing sample and synopsis should be font Arial, size 12, double-spaced. The pages must be numbered and your pen-name (not your real name) must be on each page.
  • Your pen-name will only be used for the purposes of anonymising entries to this competition and will only be used at assessment stage.

For poetry, your application should include:

  • A writing sample (Scottish Gaelic only). This can include up to 10 poems but should be no more than 10 pages in total.
  • Your writing sample should be font Arial, size 12, single-spaced. The pages must be numbered and your pen-name (not your real name) must be on each page.
  • Your pen-name will only be used for the purposes of anonymising entries to this competition and will only be used at assessment stage.

Assessment process

Applications will be assessed by a panel made up of members of the Gaelic Books Council’s Board. In the interest of fairness at the assessment stage, the names of applicants will not be divulged to the panel – applicants will be identified only by their pen-names. Applicants will be informed of the panel’s decision by the end of December 2020 at the latest.


Applications should be emailed to: [email protected] with ‘Gaelic New Writers Awards’ and your name in the subject line. Applications must be received by 12.00 noon on Wednesday 14th July 2020.

If you have any questions about this project, please contact:

Alison Lang, Gaelic Books Council at [email protected]


Previous Awardees

2010: Niall O’Gallagher (poetry) & Ishi MacLean (fiction)

2011: Sandy NicDhòmhnaill Jones (poetry) & Maureen Macleod (travel writing)

2012: Christine Stone (prose & children’s fiction) & Seonaidh Charity (fiction)

2013: John Urquhart (fiction) & Seonaid Macdonald (fiction)

2014: Calum L. MacLeod (fiction) & Steven Ritchie (fiction)

2015: Greg Thomson (fiction) & Morag Ann MacNeil (children’s fiction)

2016: Eoghan Stewart (poetry) & Jane MacLeod (fiction)

2017: Morag Law (fiction) & Marion F. Morrison (poetry)

2018: Alistair Paul (fiction) & Calum MacKinnon (fiction)

2019: June Graham (children’s fiction) & Liam Alastair Crouse (poetry)

2020: Mary Ann Kennedy (narrative non-fiction) & Andreas Wolff (narrative non-fiction)

2021: Beth Frieden (poetry) & Roddy Neithercut (narrative non-fiction)