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WHAT'S Your Story Opportunity Is The Write Stuff For Megan

AN Inverclyde teenager has been chosen to help shape a national youth writing conference.

Sixteen-year-old Megan McLaughlin, an aspiring Young Adult (YA) dystopian writer from Inverkip, is part of a team of seven young writers and illustrators who will be responsible for planning and hosting StoryCon 2017, Scotland’s biggest creative writing and illustration conference for young people. 

The free two-day event featuring workshops, panels and network-building opportunities for up to 100 teens (aged 13 to 19) each day, will be held in Glasgow on 24/25 June. 

It's part of the What’s Your Story? programme aimed at helping to increase opportunities for young people to access and contribute to literary culture across Scotland.

As part of the programme Megan will also work on her own creative development, benefitting from a residency with The National Library of Scotland, professional mentoring in her chosen form and genre and a retreat at Moniack Mhor, Scotland’s creative writing centre. Her work will be showcased at a special event in collaboration with Neu! Reekie! in September 2017.

Megan said: “I’m hoping through the What’s Your Story? programme to gain a better understanding of my creative personality and develop the plethora of ideas roaming inside my mind. 

"I feel having this opportunity to be mentored by a published author who knows the industry is an unparalleled experience that I’m really looking forward to having. I’d like to showcase two to three chapters of my YA dystopian novel ‘Species’ at the end of the programme.”

Nicole Brandon, Young Writers Co-ordinator at Scottish Book Trust, said: “Scottish Book Trust is delighted to have chosen its seven teens to participate in the What’s Your Story? programme. The project is in its second year and puts young people, who are passionate about writing, at the heart of the decision-making process. 

"These seven teens had to convince us that they had a heartfelt belief in the importance of creative writing and illustration in the lives of Scotland’s teens, and it’s our pleasure to be demonstrating our heartfelt belief in them as they’re taking part in our ground-breaking programme.

“Scottish Book Trust is committed to developing, nurturing, and celebrating the teen literary scene in Scotland. Our aim is to support the talents and ambition of young writers and illustrators of all backgrounds, and to help them connect them with others across the country who hold similar interests and to help them shape the future of writing in Scotland. Our seven participants will now have the chance to develop creatively, create resources and opportunities for their fellow teens, and showcase the contributions and fantastic potential of Scotland’s teen literary scene. We can’t wait to support them through this journey and show everyone what they’re capable of.”

Jenny Niven, Head of Literature, Languages and Publishing at Creative Scotland said: “We are delighted to be able to support the fantastic What’s Your Story initiative. It is crucial that young people across Scotland view literature and writing as something vibrant, connected and dynamic, and that they have the opportunity to have their talent recognised and developed.

“The unique combination of activities offered by this programme provides a really well-rounded accelerator programme which we hope will act as a springboard for this talented group. We’re also very passionate about having young people guide and shape their own arts provision and What’s Your Story is a terrific example of this in practice, with the selected group working together to devise the June conference for their peers. We’re enormously proud to be supporting the next generation of Scotland’s literary talent and look forward to seeing what they produce.”

Graeme Hawley, General Collections Manager, Collections and Research Department at National of Library Scotland, said: “Being involved right at the start of the creative journey for these young people is a real privilege. It gives us the opportunity to show them, through Scotland’s national archive of publishing, the extraordinary forms that literature can take. By doing this, we hope to demonstrate to them the diversity of writing and publishing, and to show how it can become a rewarding career. We also want to show them how they can make use of our collections in their creative writing, by discussing ways in which they can put to use a train timetable, or a government advice leaflet from the 1970s on nuclear war for example. It is a great opportunity to work with talented young writers and illustrators to get them thinking about the importance of research and authenticity with regard to creative writing.”

What’s Your Story? is funded in part by the National Lottery through Creative Scotland’s Open Project Fund, and is intended to celebrate and nurture the talent and ambition of young writers and illustrators of all backgrounds, connect them with others across the country who hold similar interests, and help them shape the future of literature in Scotland. The support of The Gaelic Books Council has aided this goal through specific provision for a teen participant working in Gaelic.

The judging team, including one of the previous What’s Your Story participants, and representatives from Creative Scotland, The National Library of Scotland, The Gaelic Books Council and Scottish Book Trust, carefully reviewed applications from around Scotland before selecting the final seven. Participants were selected on the enthusiasm and dedication they expressed for teenage participation in creative and literary culture.

|   What’s Your Story? 

|   StoryCon 2017

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