Spotlight on emerging critics as Fringe writer competition launched

Participants in a previous YTAS Young Critics Programme. Those taking part in the Young Critics Programme this summer will be able to enter the Fringe Young Writers' Award, which will see one would-be journalist earn the chance to join The Scotsman's festival review team in 2019. Picture: Kenny McGlashan
Participants in a previous YTAS Young Critics Programme. Those taking part in the Young Critics Programme this summer will be able to enter the Fringe Young Writers' Award, which will see one would-be journalist earn the chance to join The Scotsman's festival review team in 2019. Picture: Kenny McGlashan
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Aspiring young arts writers are set to be given the chance to take centre stage at the world’s largest arts festival as part of a new scheme aimed at producing the next generation of critics.

The inaugural “Fringe Young Writers’ Award” and “Young Critics’ Programme” will see one would-be journalist earn the chance to join The Scotsman’s festival review team for 2019 and have their work printed in a national news outlet.

The initiative, run as part of Scotland’s “Year of Young people 2018,” is backed by the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society and Youth Theatre Arts Scotland (YTAS).

Award entrants, aged between 16 and 21, are asked to submit a short review of a Fringe show to the judging panel, who will then give feedback on the work.

The winner will then receive mentoring from top arts journalists and paid reviewing work at The Scotsman during the 2019 festival.

Arts editor Roger Cox said: “The Scotsman has always been a passionate supporter of the Fringe and we recognise the vital importance of developing new talent and encouraging young writers.”

“We’re delighted to support the Fringe Young Writers’ Award, which offers a fantastic opportunity for the next generation of arts writers to put their skills to the test.”

He added: “We look forward to welcoming the winner of the award to The Scotsman’s arts team for the 2019 Edinburgh Festival Fringe.”

The Young Critics’ programme will take ten hopeful reviewers through a series of workshops in the run up to and during the Fringe, helping them to find their voice as a critic.

During this year’s festival, the young writers will review shows and receive feedback on their work from leading arts journalists to progress their writing skills.

Shona McCarthy, chief executive of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, said: “The Fringe Society works to support everyone who participates in the Fringe, and we’re acutely aware of how important quality arts journalism is to the success of the festival.”

“In Scotland’s year of young people, the Fringe Young Writers’ Award and Young Critics’ programme will provide exciting opportunities for young people to develop their arts criticism skills.”

Kenny McGlashan, chief executive of YTAS, continued: “This exciting and unique programme combines the range of skills, resources and commitment of both partners to a brand new and vibrant cultural voice for Scotland’s young audiences.”