Broken hearts wins first literary award

Gemma Grier
Gemma Grier

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.”