By Jenna Robertson
Prize winners of this year’s Keith Wright Memorial Literary Competition read their entries in front of staff, students and family last month at the university’s Lord Hope building.
Mark Haw claimed first prize with his short story, ‘The Antelope’; second prize went to Scott McNee for ‘Morning Routine’, and Stephen Elliott was awarded third prize for his poem ‘Augher, Clogher, Fivemiletown’.
In addition, honourable mention was given to Emma Guinness, who read her entry, ‘Duntocher Cinderella’.
Chris Agee, current Keith Wright Literary Fellow, described Haw’s winning piece as “a fine and very sophisticated story.”
Haw, lecturer of Chemical and Process Engineering, said of the experience: “I was pretty surprised and pleased to win the competition […] I’m really glad that the creative writing staff put so much effort into this kind of thing, I think it can really encourage young people, and older people, to have the confidence to be creative.”
Agee mentioned that he was “impressed” by McNee’s short story, ‘Morning Routine’, which he said “demonstrated a very considerable talent”.
McNee, a third year Journalism & Creative Writing student, and last year’s winner, said: “It was great to be here a second time, I managed not to stutter through this year’s reading”.
‘Augher, Clogher, Fivemiletown’ was also described as “sophisticated” by Agee, who has been following the career of “emerging talent” Elliott.
Elliott, a fourth year student of English, and second place winner of last year’s competition, said: “It was a great encouragement to be placed in the competition again this year […] it was an enjoyable and motivating experience.”
The annual competition accepts submissions in the form of poems, short stories, scripts and screenplays, with students from all faculties encouraged to enter.
Agee, who hosted the reading and shared a poem from his collection ‘Next to Nothing’, said that the standard of this year’s thirty submissions was “varied”, with some pieces “unaware of contemporary reading and writing”, and others “interesting but uneven attempts at contemporary writing”.
The three winning entries and honourable mention, however, were categorised by Agee as “clearly outstanding”, and described as “fine pieces of writing by any standard”.
In his time as Keith Wright Literary Fellow, which comes to an end this year, Agee has also hosted Literary Lunchtimes, a series of events featuring Scottish writers sharing their work in front of students, staff and public at Glasgow’s Bar Gandolfi.