The tale of how budding author Rebecca Ferguson missed out on a top writing prize is so bizarre you couldn’t make it up!
The Larbert High pupil was told she had taken one of the three prizes in the Scottish Book Trust’s annual Young Writer’s Award for her emotive essay.
But organisers then phoned to say she was too young to be a winner.
The competition is open to 14 to 17 year olds, but at just 13, Rebecca, of Stenhousemuir, was deemed ineligible.
This week, she said: “I didn’t realise there was an age restriction. I’d been bored during the May holiday and my mum suggested that I look for a writing competition to give me something to do.
“I found this one on the Scottish Book Trust site and it said you were to write 1000-2000 words on any topic you wanted.”
Rebecca wrote ‘Thoughts of a young soldier serving in Afghanistan’ in less than a day – in between baking cakes with her sister - and eventually sent it off.
She added: “A family friend had posted a poem online called ‘Sleep well young soldier’ following news of two soldiers being killed and that’s what gave me the idea.”
Proud parents Dana and Barry, along with brother Sean (9) and sisters Kara (10) and Jenna (8), are delighted at her recognition, even if she didn’t get the prize.
Rebecca has missed out on the chance to go on a writers retreat, a one-to-one phone conversation with an author and a trip to London, but modestly said she wasn’t too bothered as she never thought her essay was good enough.