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Placido amigo

Scotland's latest youth author was introduced at last week's TES ScotlandSaltire Award Ceremony - only 34 years after he had written the work in question.

When Gordon Liddell, part-editor of the commended Turnstones 2, was looking for a piece of teenage writing, he harked back to his teaching days at Dalkeith High in the late 1960s and resurrected a short story ("Sparrow") written by one of his pupils, Benny Placido.

Attempts by Liddell and publisher Hodder Gibson to contact Placido for reproduction permission were fruitless - until one day when Placido (now gainfully employed in the software industry) typed his name into the Google search engine (it's the kind of thing that software chappies do) and came up with himself as a published author via the Turnstones website.

A flurry of author-publisher e-mails ensued, with a consequent exhortation that Placido attend the award ceremony for a touching reunion with his former English teacher - and a first meeting with his publisher.

John Mitchell, from Hodder Gibson, was delighted to welcome Placido to a slap-up meal after the ceremony - just as soon as he had established that his hottest writer didn't want further payment for the story in question ...

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