For almost a decade budding young writers have been able to meet published authors through the Red Book Awards.
Run by Falkirk Council, the initiative sees a committee pick a shortlist of four paperback novels which are then given to schools for pupils to read before being asked to vote for their favourite.
Every January a special event takes place in Falkirk Town Hall, attended by the nominees and secondary school youngsters, who get an opportunity to question the authors before the presentation is made to the writer of the pupils’ favourite book.
Yvonne Manning, Falkirk Council’s principal librarian, has organised the event for the last nine years. She said: “It’s always great to see so many people engaging and I think for anyone who has ambitions to write, meeting the authors and hearing their experiences is definitely an advantage.”
The four on this year’s shortlist are: Alex Woolf for ‘Soul Shadows’; Alan Gibbons for ‘Raining Fire; Oisin McGann’s ‘Rat Runners’; and ‘Mosi’s War’ by Cathy MacPhail.
In a bid to engage with even younger children, this year the local authority is launching an ‘Added Value Project’ linked to the Scottish Children’s Book Awards.
Schools will register to be involved in the normal way through the Scottish Book Trust, which is also supporting The Falkirk Herald’s Young Writers Competition, but they will get additional input, including books and training, before a Celebration of Reading event in February next year.
Any youngsters wanting to practice their own creative writing skills can take part in The Falkirk Herald’s contest for P1 to S4 pupils.
There are prizes in every age groups, including books courtesy of the Scottish Book Trust and a family meal at Beancross from Hannigan Hotels.