Pushkin Prize-winners’ Week 2016

See photos from the week away.

‘… an amazing week, a perfect mix of meeting great people in great surroundings and improving my writing so much, all at the same time!’

‘I can’t think of anything more rewarding, fun, informative, unforgettable and all round fabulous that you could do with a week.’

‘I could write a hundred words (to describe my week at Moniack Mhor) but here’s one – and a phrase: paradise and the best week of my life.’

‘I was nervous about everything. Would the food be edible? Would the beds be comfortable? Would I get on with all these strangers? Would I be good enough? Would I enjoy myself? And the answer to all those questions – plus quite a few I’ve forgotten – is YES! Every single thing about it was fantastic. My only complaint? It wasn’t nearly long enough.’

‘I made friends I’ll have for life.’

‘Thank you for letting us get up to see the dawn – even though it was through a blizzard!’

‘Every single person there was brilliant.’

‘If anybody is in any doubt about entering the Pushkin Prizes in the future – take it from me, they won’t regret it. They’ll learn lots about writing of all kinds, they’ll make friends for life, they’ll laugh, they’ll talk, they’ll applaud, they’ll cook and eat really tasty food, they’ll run around (in snow, if they’re lucky), they’ll feel better than they’ve ever felt before. It’s a no-brainer.’

As you can tell from these comments from the Pushkin Prize-winners 2016, we had a splendid week at Moniack Mhor, Scotland’s writers’ centre perched on the top of a hill not far from Loch Ness. Moniack Mhor is an extraordinary place – and over the years we have discovered that it brings out the best in everybody who goes.

Huge thanks to Catherine MacPhail and Gerry Cambridge, our tutors, for all they did to ensure that our winners worked hard and achieved so much. Thanks too to Beth Laughlin, an English teacher from the Royal Blind School. We loved having her with us. Natalya Ushmanova, the Director of The Pushkin Prizes in St Petersburg, has now spent 15 weeks of her life at Moniack Mhor and always seems delighted to return. Thank you to her for her support of our Russian prizewinners.

Thanks to the staff at Moniack Mhor – they are so welcoming, and make it so easy to have an excellent week in those extraordinary surroundings.

But a particular thanks to our twelve winners – Esme, Charlie, Dasha, Joe, Sasha, Andrew J, Iona, Liam, Andrew P, Susanna, Callum and Alena – who threw themselves so wholeheartedly into the week, writing brilliant poems and stories, creating great memories for us all, and building friendships we believe will be lifelong.


Lindsey Fraser and Kathryn Ross

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