Pupil will see work published

FROM left are Jane Diamond, who presented the certificates, Alfie Watson-Brown and University of Aberdeen librarian Chris Banks.

FROM left are Jane Diamond, who presented the certificates, Alfie Watson-Brown and University of Aberdeen librarian Chris Banks.

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A Mackie Academy pupil was among the winners of a prestigious writing competition and will now share his work with readers across Scotland.

Alfie Watson-Brown, 12, of Benholm, was one of 10 young wordsmiths revealed as a winner of the What’s the Story? competition at Word – the University of Aberdeen writers festival – on Sunday.

Now in its seventh year, the popular contest invites secondary school pupils from across Aberdeen city and shire to pen their own short story, this year based on the theme of Lost for Words.

The competition is a partnership between Word – which saw big name authors including Iain Banks and Margaret Atwood take to the stage in Aberdeen – and the Arts Education Teams of Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Councils.

A panel of judges sifted through the entries and selected the top ten stories which will now be published by Wordfirsts – the only publisher in Scotland dedicated to publishing the work of young people.

The winners were presented with a Waterstone’s voucher at a special Word event on Sunday where last year’s winners of the competition also saw their work in print for the very first time with the unveiling of their publication ‘Something to Celebrate’.

What’s the Story? invited pupils to let their imaginations fly. They found creative ways to respond to the theme with tales of triumph over adversity and family ties. Alfie’s tale was entitled Baffled.

The presentation formed part of the Marathon Oil Children’s Festival, which runs alongside the main Festival, with dozens of free events from storytelling to the creation of a play in day and exploration of the Cruickshank Botanical Gardens.

Alison Parfitt, Aberdeen City Council Cultural Co-ordinator, said: “This year we received entries from 32 schools across Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire, and the standard was once again top class.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for young people to become published authors and they should be proud of what they have achieved.”

“The anthology produced with last year’s winning entries is superb and showcases the talent of budding young authors here in the north-east. I’m now looking forward to seeing the work of the 2011 winners in print.”