Short stories sought in honour of Doric writer

A short story competition which celebrates the work of one of the north-east's finest exponents of written Doric has been launched.
The competition honours Doric writer David ToulminThe competition honours Doric writer David Toulmin
The competition honours Doric writer David Toulmin

The 2024 Toulmin Prize University is run by the University of Aberdeen’s Elphinstone Institute and £500 is up for grabs for the winning entry.

The Toulmin prize has inspired a wide-range of creative writing in a mixture of Doric and English since its inception in 2008. It is sponsored by grandsons of Toulmin (John Reid), Steven and Martin Reid.

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John Reid (1913-1998) was an Aberdeenshire farm labourer from Rathen, near Fraserburgh, who spent most of his life working long hours for very small rewards. In odd moments he jotted down short stories, character studies, and bothy tales.

Eventually, as David Toulmin, he had a few articles printed in local newspapers. The first of his ten books was published when he was 59-years-old. They consist mostly of short stories and reminiscences, with his one novel, Blown Seed, painting a harsh picture of farm life.

In the later years of his life he moved to Pittodrie Place in Aberdeen (later to Westhill) and was awarded an honorary degree by the University of Aberdeen in 1986.

The Toulmin Prize is open to all amateur writers over the age of 16. Stories should be about some aspect of life in North-East Scotland and may be written in Scots, including Doric, or English, or a mixture of the two. Previous prize-winners cannot submit an entry.

Dr Tom McKean, Director of the Elphinstone Institute at the University of Aberdeen, said: “We’re proud to be able to honour David Toulmin and his work in this way. His writing is powerful, evocative and witty, and he is one of the finest exponents of writing in the north-east.

“We have received a fantastic standard of entries in previous years and the winners have now been collated into an anthology celebrating Doric writing.

“I am looking forward to seeing the selection for 2024 and would urge people with a tale to tell to pick up their pen and stretch their imagination.”

A short story of up to 4,000 words in length should be submitted by 27 August, 2024.

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The winner will receive a £500 prize, and the story will be read by well-known North-East writer, Sheena Blackhall, at a University of Aberdeen event later in the year.