Broken hearts wins first literary award

Gemma Grier
Gemma Grier
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Our Lady’s High pupil Gemma Grier has been named the winner of the inaugural Scottish Schools’ Young Writer of the Year award.

The competition was open to pupils aged 15-18 writing a non-fiction piece of 1,000 words which commented on experiences, events or people.

Gemma’s work, ‘Hannah’, described her thoughts following a trip to Auschwitz-Birkenau with the Holocaust Educational Trust, beginning with a single name noticed on a suitcase.

Library resource centre manager Jennifer Macfadyen said: “Working with principal teacher of English, Elaine Millar, as editor, a heart-breaking and lovely original was transformed into a beautiful piece of writing, worthy of the award.

“The audience were moved to tears when it was read aloud at the ceremony in Glasgow, congratulations to Gemma on her well-deserved success which wins her £500 as well as £1,000 for the school.”

The judges were Institute of Contemporary Scotland chairman and Scottish Review editor Kenneth Roy; former Educational Institute of Scotland president Rose Galt; novelist, journalist and Royal Literary Fund consultant fellow Katie Grant; and Professor Walter Humes, visiting professor of education at the University of Stirling.

They described ‘Hannah’ as: “A devastating mixture of described experience and emotional impact. The decision to focus on one of the victims, a baby called Hannah, beginning and ending with her, worked powerfully.

“The piece reached the heart. It was not only exceptionally well-crafted; it was truly beautiful.”