Winners of the Scottish Book Trust's creative writing competition for young people were announced on Tuesday, out of nearly 250 entries. First prize goes to Emma Brown, 14, of St Andrew's and St Bride's High, South Lanarkshire, for "The Death Predictor". Joint runners-up are Mathias Sean Lord, 16, from Alvaern Ungdomsskole, Norway, for "Alone", and Louise Paterson, 16, of St Columba's School, Renfrewshire, for "The Heat of Time". The 11 best stories have been published by the book trust in a limited edition, The Death Predictor and Other Stories, a copy of which was given to the National Library of Scotland. Three of the shortlisted teenagers will also take part in a new mentoring scheme to help them hone their writing skills over six months. The mentoring will be face-to-face and online with the book trust's virtual writer-in-residence, Keith Gray, author of Ostrich Boys, which was shortlisted for the 2008 Costa Book Awards. The three successful applicants are Charlotte Gordon, 13, from Thurso Academy, Highland, Katie Hart, 14, from Bearsden Academy, East Dunbartonshire, and the runner-up Mathias Sean Lord. They will also visit a top UK children's fiction publisher and meet a children's literary agent.
Ollie Bray, depute head of Musselburgh Grammar, East Lothian, took first place in the Innovation in Community section at the Innovative Teachers Forum 2009 in Vienna. Mr Bray, who is on secondment to Learning and Teaching Scotland as a national adviser for emerging technologies, won the award for his presentation of "Thinking out of the Xbox".
His work with local primary schools on the music game Guitar Hero was featured in The TESS last year (July 25) and is to be featured in all East Lothian schools, while other schools from Shetland to Hong Kong are expressing interest.
Last week it was a cheeky song with a silly dance, featured in The TESS; this week it's a bestseller, featured in the CD charts. "The Haggis" single, produced by Alva Academy for Red Nose Day and released two weeks ago, has made it to number 12 in the Scottish charts. Written by Stuart Clyde (depute head) and David Clifford (PT music), and sung by 2,000 children from Alva Academy and its cluster primary schools, the chart-topper can be downloaded from iTunes or Napster. It has also reached the number one spot in the Official BBC Radio 1 UK Indie Charts! The single has outsold (among others) Oasis and The Fratellis.