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Cardiff poet wins New Writers Award

Thomas Stewart
Scottish Book Trust today announces the 11 recipients of the New Writers Awards 2021, which provide a selection of talented writers who have not yet published a full-length book or collection with professional guidance to help them move towards publication, as well as financial support. Funded by Creative Scotland and run by Scottish Book Trust, the national charity transforming lives through reading and writing, the awards have supported over 100 creative individuals since 2009.
The prestigious judging panel included Scots Makar Jackie Kay, Niall Campbell and Colin Waters for poetry; Tendai Huchu, Janice Galloway, Denise Mina and Alan Bett judging fiction; and Dean Atta, Lari Don and Hannah Sycamore (Scottish Book Trust) judging Children’s and YA entries. The Gaelic Books Council selects the two Gaelic New Writer Awardees.
Thomas Stewart originally from Cardiff, Wales has recieved a New Writers Award. A writer and an English teacher, his debut pamphlet empire of dirt was a Poetry Book Society selection and is published by Red Squirrel Press. He was highly commended in the Verve 2020 Poetry Competition and his poetry has been selected for the Best Scottish Poems 2019 anthology and We’ve Done Nothing Wrong, We’ve Nothing To Hide, published by Verve Poetry Press, 2020. He now lives in Leith, Edinburgh.

Thomas Stewart said: “I think I’m still in the moment of receiving the award – stunned, elated, full of disbelief and wonder. Come to think of it, it’s the same feeling as writing poetry. Honestly, to receive the New Writers Award is an incredible honour, many of the previous recipients are writers I greatly admire, so I am extremely humbled and thankful and excited to venture ahead and write my first collection.”
Former New Writers awardees include Nicola White, whose novel The Rosary Garden (Profile) was re-released in January; Helen Sedgwick’s third novel Where the Missing Gather (Oneworld) will be published in May 2021 and Man Booker Prize shortlistee Graeme Macrae Burnet will release Case Study (Saraband) in October 2021.
The 2021 awardees are:
Nasim Rebecca Asl
Thomas Stewart
Tim Craven
Children’s and Young Adult
Hazel Knox
Sally Costelloe
Fiction and Narrative Non-Fiction
Deborah Chu
Gillian Shearer
Hannah Nicholson
Samantha Dooey-Miles
Beth Frieden
Roddy Neithercut
Each of the 11 recipients will receive a £2,000 cash award and support tailored to their needs including mentoring from writers and industry professionals, training opportunities, and the platform to showcase their work to publishers and agents.
Marc Lambert, CEO of Scottish Book Trust, said:
“In uncertain times, it is more important than ever to celebrate and discover new writers in Scotland. Working within COVID restrictions, Scottish Book Trust will support the awardees through online training, workshops and mentoring. As always, the standard of the applications were very high and we look forward to future publications from this group.”
Alan Bett, Interim Head of Literature, Languages & Publishing, Creative Scotland said:
 “The list of past winners speaks for itself and gives us all reason to expect that the names on this year’s list will be on bookshelves across the country in future. It was a pleasure to sit on the fiction panel and the wealth of talent, while hugely encouraging, made decision making a near impossible process.”
Alison Lang, Director of the Gaelic Books Council, said:
 “The Gaelic Book Council’s on-going partnership with Scottish Book Trust allows us to give Gaelic writers this valuable opportunity early in their careers to work with experienced mentors and develop their craft, and we are excited to be working with new writers of Beth and Roddy’s calibre this year as they work towards their first publications.”
The New Writers Showcase, a celebration of work by last year’s awardees, will be held online through Scottish Book Trust’s social media accounts on Wednesday 31 March.