Young Writers Competition 2017

Civic Reception held at Dundee City Chambers 28th June 2017

Lord Provost, Ian Borthwick, congratulated all 11 Winners, sponsored by Rotary in Dundee, for their spectacular achievements in reaching the North and East Scotland Finals -  one of the highest number of awards accorded to any City or Town in the United Kingdom at District Level. Of particular mention was the article written by 15 year old Mia Kellner of the Grove Academy whose article “The Eyes of War” won the prestigious National Young Writer Award, promoted by Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland. 

The Competition was open to all schools and college communities throughout the UK and Ireland. Mia’s article was judged as the winning entry out of 5000 submissions at Senior level for students aged 14 -17.  Her short story was inspired by Steve McCurry’s photograph “Afghan Girl” which appeared on the cover of the National Geographic Magazine in 1984. Her short story recounts the journey to the place where the photo was taken,  placing the Reporter among a tormented people who have lived with cycles of invasion and civil war for centuries. Using the language of colours and rich imagery Mia vividly brings to life the human story behind a striking photograph and creates a startling and poignant piece of journalistic writing ,addressing the horrors of childhood lived in a warzone and communicating the triumph of "hope".

In the Intermediate Section of the Competition for 11-13 year old students, Phoenix Gibb from Braeview Academy also progressed through to the National Final and was awarded a Finalist Certificate.

The Lord Provost and Rotary District Governor, Roddy Duncan, presented Awards to Mia and Phoenix and the 9 District Award Winners - Hannah George, High School of Dundee (District Runner-up); Shona Floate, High School of Dundee (Highly Commended);  Christy Graham, Downfield Primary School (District Runner-up); Grazyna Branicka, Craigie High School; Anna Bennett, Grove Academy ; Amy Gordon, Braeview Academy; Laura Gourlay, Braeview Academy; Chloe Lorimer, Braeview Academy and Lachlan Hovell, Downfield Primary School.

Competition Judges, Bill Herbert, Poet, Writer and Dundee City Makar and Andy Jackson, Author, Poet and Makar to the Federation of Writers Scotland said “The young writers of Dundee are punching well above their weight. The success of Mia and others and the overall standard of the entries in general prove that young people can be articulate, observant, creative , expressive, passionate and sensitive. They are engaged with the world around them, both the natural world and the social and political world.”

Said Ivor Morton, Past President of Claverhouse Rotary Club “The sucesses of these young writers are a true testimony to the great talent we have in Dundee in our pupils and the brilliant, dedicated  teachers in our schools supported by a highly effective local Education Department. We hear all too often of the problems in Education in our country and it is about time that we redressed the balance and broadcasted the true talent we have  here in Dundee and their magnificent achievements.”

Rotarian David Herbert, Event Organiser, presented framed and mounted transcripts of Mia Kellner’s article to the Lord Provost and Mia herself. He thanked everyone for all their efforts and welcomed all schools in Dundee to join the Young Writers Competition over the coming year with the aim of perpetuating a success story for the City of Dundee.