Light up Edinburgh’s skies with your story!

Val McDermid  on BBC Radio4 during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe (Pic: Cath Ruane)
Val McDermid on BBC Radio4 during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe (Pic: Cath Ruane)

Young writers have been given the chance to see their work showcased in a unique event led by best-selling author, Val McDermid.

The award-winning Fifer is penning a short story that will be told in chapters projected on to Edinburgh’s buildings and landmarks as part of the city’s Hogmanay celebrations.

And now, young Scots have the chance to be part of it.

Edinburgh’s Hogmanay has launched a new writing competition, calling for aspiring young writers to create their own short story inspired by Auld Reekie – the world’s first UNESCO City of Literature..

Three stories will be selected to appear alongside a new work by Val in Message from the Skies.

Launching at dusk on New Year’s Day 2018, it runs until Burns Night on January 25.

Val has been commissioned to pen the short story which has been inspired by a line from Robert Burns’ poem Sketch New Year’s Day. To Mrs Dunlop (1790),

She is collaborating with Philip Howard, director and dramaturg, from emergent theatre company Pearlfisher, Edinburgh based architectural projection mapping specialists Double Take Projections, and three of Scotland’s finest composers and sound designers; Michael John McCarthy, Pippa Murphy and RJ McConnell to bring the story to life.

The project creates a magical new walking tour to lead visitors through Edinburgh’s iconic streets, which have inspired some of the world’s finest authors over the centuries – from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Robert Louis Stevenson to JK Rowling and Muriel Spark.

From January 2, for one hour, ahead of the main presentation of New Year’s Resurrection a new short story by a local young writer will also be projected onto a number of the buildings.

Each young writer’s work will be featured for one week of between January 2-25 on show to thousands of visitors.

The competition is open now to pupils of primary and secondary schools, school leavers under 18 and pupils of special schools in the EH, FK or KY postcodes and will run until November 15.

New Year’s Day also marks the beginning of the Year of Young People 2018. Edinburgh’s Hogmanay’s young writing competition for Edinburgh, the Lothians, Fife and Falkirk will be adjudicated by Ali Bowden, director, Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust and Janet Smyth, children and education programme director, Edinburgh International Book Festival.

Val said: “A good story is like a three-legged stool. It depends on character, it depends on setting and it depends on the plot.

You’ve got these three elements, keep them in balance and it won’t fall over.”

She added, “If you’re stuck for what to write get off your bum, get out the door and get writing.”

Stories can be submitted here: Edinburgh’s Hogmanay