The Pushkin Prizes offer a unique opportunity for 10 pupils from schools throughout Scotland to attend a five-day creative writing course at the Moniack Mhor Writers' Centre near Inverness. Past tutors have included professional writers, Gerry Cambridge, Anna Crowe, Alan Durant, Diana Hendry and Catherine MacPhail.
The Pushkin Prizes also fund a place for a teacher to attend the course.
Pupils in S1 and S2 (or the equivalent) from any school in Scotland are invited to submit their creative writing folios in December every year. Each folio must contain three pieces of creative writing, each no longer than 1200 words long. Pupils can write about anything they wish, and they can write in any genre, or combination of genres.
Previous winners have included poetry, prose, reportage, debate, travel writing and autobiography. The judges are looking for imaginative, ambitious, lively and original writing. Attention to detail is essential - accurate spelling and punctuation can make all the difference.
Look at recent winning folios on this website and in The Pushkin Prizes anthologies. You'll be amazed at the range of types of writing.
Folios can be prepared as part of a class project, in a writing group, or at home - they should be accompanied by an official entry form which you can find HERE. If you do not have a teacher, parent, guardian or responsible adult who will authorise your entry, please contact the Director, Lindsey Fraser, via our contact form.
If folios are not typed, they must be legible and written in ink. Illegible entries will be disqualified.
The Pushkin Prizes began when some of Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin's descendants, together with lovers of his work, gathered together in 1987 to mark the 150th anniversary of his death. Lady Butter, inspired to perpetuate her ancestor's memory in a unique and appropriate way, launched the creative writing competition as a pilot project in Scottish secondary schools in Tayside in 1988. The project was such a success that in 1992 a charitable trust was established and since then the opportunity has expanded to include every secondary school in Scotland as well as English language specialist schools in and around Pushkin's home town of St Petersburg.
We have had winners from all over mainland and island Scotland.
"I think Pushkin would have liked the idea of encouraging creative writing among school students. There is something so fresh and vigorous and positive about his own writing that it has always held a strong appeal for young people."
We write to communicate ideas and thoughts, and to find out about ourselves. The Pushkin Prizes encourage young people to gain insights into their own lives and the lives of other people through their writing. Pushkin Prizewinners' Week is a chance to write, talk, meet and have fun. Our prizewinners establish friendships that - we hope - will last a lifetime.
The Pushkin Prizes in Scotland have worked with teachers throughout the country to provide a focus for creative writing amongst pupils in their first and second years at secondary school. One of our first judges, the poet (and teacher) Norman MacCaig, was adamant that we set no subjects for our entrants. By freeing children to write about whatever they wanted, he believed that we would allow them to write to the best of their abilities, and the resulting entries over the years have proved him right.
The aims of the Curriculum for Excellence to offer opportunities for active, challenging and enjoyable learning could not be more in tune with our own. We welcome writing of all kinds, writing that reflects all areas of the curriculum. Although most of our entries are co-ordinated by English teachers, we welcome entries from all Curriculum areas. Language and communication remain at the heart of our young people's learning experiences and it is a privilege for us to gain such insight into the imaginary and real worlds evoked in the folios we receive.
We will be announcing our judges at the start of November!