Ayr Writers Excel at 2020 Scottish Association of Writers’ National Writing Awards

Such a lot to celebrate for the members of Ayr Writers’ Club this week, as the Scottish Association of Writers (SAW) released, by video, the names of their prizewinning competitors – entrants in the 2020, annual, national, writing competitions.

The SAW website, at 7.30 on the dot, was alight with a row of adjudicators, papers in hand, screens and webcams on, in a pre-recorded piece to camera. The results of each competition was named in a timely over-to-you link, by Ayr Writers’ Club member and SAW Competition Secretary, Janice Johnstone.

A magnificent total of 22 prizes were awarded to AWC writers – almost half of the number available. And a lorry-load of 5 trophies.

Ayr Writers’ Club members’ results –


NOVEL IN A SPECIFIC GENRE – First 10,000 – 15,000 words of a non-fiction book. Also, 2 page synopsis.

2nd Place – Catherine Lang, ‘Coping Single Handed’  – “Had me laughing and crying in equal measure. A writer who has clearly been on a journey and had to make many adjustments in her life. She tells her story in a way that, I know, will be inspiring and encouraging to so many who are facing challenges and difficult circumstances.” – Nicki Campbell, Adjudicator.


SELF-PUBLISHED BOOK – Self-published in any genre, can be fiction or non-fiction.

Highly Commended – Pat Young, ‘Revenge Runs Deep’ – “A very good novel. Well executed, good characters, and a strong plot.” – David Penny, Adjudicator


DRAMA – A one-act Radio Play (maximum of 5 characters). Approximately 45 minutes in length.

2nd Place – Helena Sheridan, ‘Faith’ – “An intriguing story about a woman obsessed by her dead sister, who is taken advantage of by a con-artist. This play twists and turns. Only at the very end do we know who the villains are.” – Caroline Dunford, Adjudicator


UNDER-7s SHORT STORY – A story aimed at Under 7s. A maximum of 750 words.

1st Place, Winner of the Under-7s Short Story Competition – Marion Husband, ‘Granny Came to Visit’ “Fantastically written story, it won my heart immediately. Really, really pleased to say it did have the humour and it did have a lovely lovely moral. Really simple, effective message, about granny going to visit a little boy and knitting him hats and socks galore. It rhymed beautifully, had a lovely pace, and it was just delightful how it depicted the simplicity of the relationship between the granny and the grandchild. Just simple and lovely language, very simple for the age group. I was very pleased to be able to read your story.” – Sarah Grace, Adjudicator

Highly Commended – Janice Johnstone, ‘Hippo’s Best Bits’ – I found this very enjoyable. I love the value of each part of an animal that the hippo liked and wanted to borrow from the other animals, sharing with the hippo.” – Sarah Grace, Adjudicator


GENERAL SHORT STORY – All types of story are welcomed in this category, 2000 – 2500 words.

2nd Place – Suzy Kelly, ‘Them at Number Six’“A story that uses humour to great effect, but it’s mixed with some really dark social developments. The narration is done through a woman on the phone to her friend. She conveys her own, and her friend’s, character, perfectly – as well as revealing a series of events which are funny, extreme, scary, but, also simultaneously, a quite tender parody of some of the things which are, in today’s life, progressing in a really nasty way.” – Bill Kirkton, Adjudicator


BOOK REVIEW – Review a book of your choice, giving full details, including ISBN number. Books must have been published after January 2017. 350 – 500 words.

“We found the entries varied and interesting, and the judging was very enjoyable.” – Greenock Writers, Adjudicators

1st Place, Winner of the May Marshall Silver Book Trophy – Nigel Ward, ‘Why North is Up’ – Greenock Writers, Adjudicators

2nd Place – Maggie Bolton, ‘HMS Erebus – The Story of a Ship’ – Greenock Writers, Adjudicators

3rd Place – Catherine Lang, ‘The Ogre’ – Greenock Writers, Adjudicators

Commended – Suzy Kelly, ‘Wages of Sin’ – Greenock Writers, Adjudicators


A WOMAN’S SHORT STORY – Aimed at a woman’s magazine, 1000 – 2000 words.

2nd Place – Yvonne Jack, ‘Waving off the Waverley’ “This story had some lovely moments. It has a gentle humour to it, but also some very emotional moments to it. The way that the two were woven together worked really well, and I felt that it was a memorable story. It was very visual and the setting was very well done. I love the idea of the character setting out for the day, and ending up having an unexpected adventure and the day ending up differently than she had expected. Overall, I found this story uplifting and fun. A great read.” – Helen Walters, Adjudicator

3rd Place – Linda Brown, ‘Dancing for Joy’ “This story was confident and professionally written, and was fizzing with life. I really liked the way the writer included ‘joy’ in the title, with the character name and the theme of the story. It really worked well and it showed me that they had thought hard about putting this story together. Putting the character into situations out of her comfort zone, and watching her flourish – along with her little rebellions against her daughter’s instructions – was also fun. Joy really does sum up this story.” – Helen Walters, Adjudicator


3-5 MINUTE SKETCH – Sketch can be humorous or non-humorous.

3rd Place – Catherine Lang, ‘Wedding Fever’ “This goes to the most serious sketch in the competition. This was very well written and had a good story-line, with a surprise ending.” – Strathkelvin Writers, Adjudicators

Highly Commended – Nigel Ward, ‘Stamping It Out’ “A sketch set in a school library. This might be difficult to perform in the Westerwood, because of the props needed, but could be a short television sketch.” – Strathkelvin Writers, Adjudicators


POETRY – Maximum of 40 lines.

“The submission totals were 55, very very varied, very wide-ranging, written both in Scots and English. The quality of work was very very high indeed. Thank you to everyone who entered.” – Stuart A. Paterson, Adjudicator

3rd Place – Janice Johnstone, ‘Drystane Dyke’ – Stuart A. Paterson, Adjudicator


FLASH FICTION – Maximum of 250 words.

1st Place, Winner of the SAW Council Trophy – Linda Brown, Desperate’ – “This piece of Flash Fiction felt much bigger than the actual number count of 250 words, but it wasn’t. This feeling was due to the level of complete description of the scene, and of the main character. This was an unusual story, which made us very interested indeed. There was also a great sense of the time setting as well. It was all cleverly executed, in that the description of the sun, for example, although well described, it was not overly stressed. And there was a great feeling of immersion into the setting. This gave more depth to the story, and felt larger because of it, providing us with great imagery throughout. It had a very active pace. But there was also a clever surprise with an unexpected ending that was in the backdrop to the drama unfolding – but something you would regard as mundane, or a day-to-day occurrence, was a lifeline for someone else. It was a very gifted bit of writing. It was engaging, it also made us smile. An excellent piece of writing. – ‘One for you. He offered her the box, Desperate Housewives, Series, 4.'” – City Writers, Adjudicators

3rd Place – Kirsty Hammond, ‘A Lunar Love Story’ – “Now, love stories can take all sorts of shapes and sizes, and this one had a very unique take, with great emotive descriptions throughout. Some love stories are small, and some can be an all-encompassing Big Bang, where it is a catastrophe for them to meet at all. So much said in so few words. ‘I would destroy an entire solar system for him.'” – City Writers, Adjudicators


GENERAL ARTICLE – A general article of your choice, 1000 – 2000 words.

1st Place, Winner of the Alistair Walker Trophy – Linda Brown, ‘The Tale of a Talented Scots Professor’ “If you’d told me in advance that I would be picking an article about football as first place winner, then no one would have been more surprised than me. It’s definitely not my favourite pastime, and I don’t really watch football. But this article looked at the history of the game through the story of a relative. And it was a really enjoyable read. And very nicely written.” – Judith Duffy, Adjudicator

2nd Place – Linda Brown, ‘Taxi to Holloway’“This really grabbed my attention because of the interesting subject. It’s a fascinating story about a thief of the early 20th century, and one which I certainly hadn’t heard of before. I really liked the details in this. There was the tracking down of a suspect, thanks to a Cinderella shoe. The background on the thief’s early life – a failed love affair and a continued criminal career – made it fascinating reading. Plus there was a great final twist that she may have inspired Agatha Christie.” – Judith Duffy, Adjudicator


NOVEL AIMED AT 7 – 12 YEARS. First 7000 words of a novel aimed for 7 – 12 years. Also, a 2 page synopsis. 

” There were 7 entries in this competition. These entries covered a range of genres, from historical through to fantasy and magic, and dealt with issues relevant to the readership. These were all handled sensitively. All had a strong sense of place. What I loved about the entries was the enthusiasm that came across in all of the stories. It’s clear that all of the writers are engaged with their stories and their characters, and that’s a huge achievement. Well done.” – Adrianne Fitzpatrick, Adjudicator

1st Place Winner of the Silver Thistle Trophy – Janice Johnstone, ‘Here Be Dragons ‘ – Adrianne Fitzpatrick, Adjudicator

2nd Place –  Susan McVey, ‘Ginny Ducker and the Clava Cairns Keys ‘ – Adrianne Fitzpatrick, Adjudicator

3rd Place – Maggie Bolton, ‘The Secret Life of Ailsa McCann’ – Adrianne Fitzpatrick, Adjudicator






One comment

  1. Eddie Phillips

    Humbled by the talent I’m surrounded by in AWC. I came in as someone enthusiastic but lacking confidence but I see that I’m now able to write novels, all as a result of you good people. Congratulations to everyone.

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