By Émer O’Toole
Winners of the annual Strathclyde Keith Wright Memorial Literary Competition shared their winning entries at the “Up-and-Coming Reading” held at the Centre for Contemporary Arts earlier this month.
First prize was awarded to Scott McNee for his short story “Crocodile”; second to Stephen Elliot for his poem “Deus Nobiscum” and third to Hannah McDonald for her short story “Us and Them”.
Christopher Agee, Strathclyde’s writer in residence and host of the event, said: “Crocodile is a very fine piece of short fiction by any measure. It is subtle and artistically aware, quite impressive for someone who is only 19.”
McNee, a second year Journalism & Creative Writing student said: “It was great to meet other writers and utterly terrifying to win.”
Elliot, a third year student of English, said: “It was an excellent way to come into contact with fellow Strathclyde writers…in a warm and welcoming environment.”
Agee believes that Stephen’s poem has “a distinctly Irish tone which he had made his own.”
Third place winner and second year English student McDonald said: “I had never really shared my work with anyone before the Up and Coming Reading so I was pretty nervous but I enjoyed reading my short stories.”
According to Agee, McDonald’s story “had an impressively succinct colloquial and psychologically mature quality.”
This was followed by an open mic reading, featuring the six commended runners-up.
Entrants were encouraged to submit short stories, poems, play scripts or screenplays and students from all faculties were eligible.
Agee mentioned how there were 40 submissions of a “variable standard” with most of them “on the weaker side.”
Agee revealed that he has “been aware of the good reputation of some of these writers even though the competition was anonymously judged” and was “not surprised that they won.”
32 students and family attended the event, with opening remarks by Agee and Professor David Kinloch, poet and head of Strathclyde’s Creative Writing department.
The event rounds off the spring Literary Lunchtimes series, sponsored by Strathclyde’s School of Humanities.
As well as hosting a Keith Wright Literary workshop for Strathclyde students, Agee’s latest initiative, the Hobsbaum Memorial Workshop is aimed at younger or new writers in Glasgow and will begin in April.
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