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Gairloch High School Gaelic teacher 'honoured' to win prestigious writing award

By Iona M.J. MacDonald

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Gairloch High School teacher, Iain Cumming.
Gairloch High School teacher, Iain Cumming.

A Gairloch High School Gaelic teacher has won the prestigious Scottish Book Trust’s 2024 New Writers Award.

Iain Cumming (48) from Laide, is a Gaelic teacher who finds inspiration for his writing in the rich history, culture, people and landscape of the Highlands.

Every year Scottish Book Trust holds the prestigious year-long writer development programme to support writers living in Scotland. As well as a £2000 cash award, they receive mentorship from writers and industry professionals, a week-long retreat, and opportunities to showcase their work to publishing industry professionals.


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The New Writers Award has seen 80 awardees have had their work published, and a total of 165 works getting published. Previous awardees include Graeme Macrae Burnet whose 2015 novel His Bloody Project was shortlisted for the Man Book Prize, and Gail Honeyman, whose bestselling novel Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine won Scottish Book Trust’s The Next Chapter Award.

In the last few years, Iain Cumming has won several prizes at the National Mὸd for short stories and non-fiction articles and in the FilmG competition for script writing. One of his stories was published with an English translation in the magazine Southlight last year. Iain is very much looking forward to the opportunity and challenge that the New Writers Award will provide and writing on a more focussed, consistent basis.

Iain said: "It is a real honour to receive a New Writers Award and I am grateful to Comhairle nan Leabhraichean and The Scottish Book Trust for this opportunity. I am very much looking forward to working with a mentor, to having time dedicated to writing and to seeing how my work evolves over the course of the year and beyond. I have gained so much from Gaelic literature and hope that I will be able to make my own small contribution to it."

Marc Lambert, CEO of Scottish Book Trust, said: "It’s always incredible to meet our awardees for the New Writers Award, and I’d like to offer my congratulations to this year’s cohort, each of whom have demonstrated exceptional writing.

"With our awardees exploring a rich variety of themes in their work, and writing in English, Gaelic and Scots, I am excited to follow their journey throughout the year and beyond, as we help to nurture and build on their talents."

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