Giffnock teen showcases her creativity

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The teenagers from the What’s Your Story? programme presented their latest at the Scottish Storytelling Centre, Edinburgh.

The programme is run by Scottish Book Trust, the national charity transforming lives through reading and writing, and funded by Big Lottery Fund’s Young Start programme, The Badenoch Trust and Kiran’s Trust.

Other trusts and private donors also contribute to the programme, and a Gaelic place is sponsored and supported by the Gaelic Books Council.

Holly Edgar, a novelist from Giffnock, was part of the line-up and demonstrated some of her recent work. Holly has worked on her story throughout the year with her mentor Laura Lam, author of False Hearts.

Holly said: “What’s Your Story? has been such an amazing opportunity, allowing me to meet other young creators and learn so many new skills. It’s helped me become more confident and proficient as a writer and I would recommend it to everyone who likes to create. Everyone has a story to tell, and without What’s Your Story?, so many of them would remain unheard.”

Scottish Book Trust partnered with Neu! Reekie! to train the teenagers on presenting their creative works, including illustration, storytelling and poetry. Seven teens were involved in the What’s Your Story? programme, selected from locations across Scotland, including: South Ayrshire, East Lothian and East Renfrewshire. They have been partnered with mentors who are experts in their chosen creative field, and the showcase offered the opportunity to display their current work.

The showcase was a celebration of the work achieved by the young writers, illustrators and storytellers, and was attended by family, friends and invited guests from Scotland’s literary scene. The event also marks the end of the young people’s time on the programme.

What’s Your Story? was originally funded by Time to Shine, Creative Scotland’s national youth arts strategy and is the first nationwide programme of its kind in Scotland. As well as the showcase, the teens were given the opportunity to join a retreat with their mentors at Moniack Mhor, allowing them dedicated time and space to improve their skills, and an induction programme with the National Library of Scotland. They were also involved in planning and organising Storycon, Scotland’s biggest creative writing and illustration convention for young people, which was attended by more than 120 participants in June.

Marc Lambert, CEO of Scottish Book Trust, said: “It’s wonderful to celebrate the third year of the What’s Your Story? programme with a showcase demonstrating the enthusiasm and progress of the young people involved.

“Throughout the year, the ambassadors have had opportunities to improve their confidence, and receive dedicated advice from experts in their field. Scottish Book Trust wish them all the best of luck for their future projects, and we know that they will be an asset to Scotland’s creative scene. Many thanks our funders, Big Lottery Fund’s Young Start, The Badenoch Trust, Kiran’s Trust and the Gaelic Books Council, for making this programme possible.”

Maureen McGinn, Big Lottery Fund Scotland chair, said: “Young Start empowers young Scots to pursue their hopes and aspirations while also building skills and confidence for the future. I am delighted that young writers and illustrators from across Scotland have been able to develop and showcase their talent on the What’s Your Story? Programme.”

Applications are currently open for next year’s What’s Your Story? programme, for interested 14 to 17 year olds from across Scotland. It is free to apply for and take part in, and travel expenses will be covered for all participants.

Any young writers or illustrators who are interested in taking part in the What’s Your Story? programme should visit The Story Is for more details. The closing date for applications is Monday, November 12.