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A Scotsman, a Cockney and a Mongolian...

ELEVEN PUPILS emerged as winners of the What's the Story? competition, aimed at secondary schools in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire as part of this year's Word Festival in the city.

The competition, which is supported by The TESS, invited the youngsters to respond on the theme of "Oor wey o' spikin" (Our way of speaking), and they responded with more than 40 entries in Doric, "shtee" (urban street talk), text-speak and a number of different languages which were translated into English (ranging from Cockney to Mongolian).

Annette Murray, an officer with Aberdeen City Council's arts education team, which helped organise the event, said: "The competition was all about encouraging young people to sit down and write, no matter what language they speak. We wanted to make it as easy as possible for people to put together a story in the style they felt most comfortable with. The entries were all of a good standard and showed lots of imagination and invention - and humour."

The imaginative range can be gauged from the titles of some of the winning submissions - The Only Scotsman in Mongolia by Andrew Maitland, 14, Hazlehead Academy; A Richt Imbarrassemint! by Holly Skinner, 13, Northfield Academy; and Scotland vs America by Els Thijs, 14, Flora Bramwell, 15, and Christina van Midden, 16, Aberdeen Waldorf School.

The winners will have their entries published in a special short story collection. "The process of writing is hugely important, so being able to display the children's work in a high-quality publication is fantastic,"

she said. "It also highlights the creative pathways open to youngsters and shows them they could have a career as a writer."

The organisers of the three-day Word 07 last weekend said it had been the most successful festival yet, attracting more than 11,000 visitors. The event ranged from sessions with top authors such as Iain Banks and Louis De Berni res to a "bookstart" rhyme time session for babies.

Next week, The TESS will feature a selection of the winning entries

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