Prizes and Awards
Prizes and Awards
The Vacation Scholarship Scheme is intended for eligible students undertaking a degree course at an eligible Scottish Higher Education Institution (HEI), who wish to develop their research skills by undertaking a programme of independent research during the Summer vacation. The scheme aims to encourage students to learn how to manage a small scale research project and prepare them for further study at postgraduate level.
The Alastair Buchan Prize
The Alastair Buchan Prize was founded in 1919 in memory of Alastair E Buchan, undergraduate in Arts, who was killed in action in 1917. This award is offered annually for the best poem on a prescribed subject.
The Alastair Buchan Poetry Competition is open to all Glasgow University students.
Poems are invited to be submitted on the theme: 'Reason' and should be up to 40 lines in length, with a maximum of three poems per submission.
The prize will be £200 first prize, £100 second prize, £50 third prize.
Entries should be sent to: SCS CW Admin and should include name, student number and degree subject. The deadline for submissions will be Friday 14 April 2017.
The judges will be members of Glasgow University staff in Scottish Literature and Creative Writing.
Winners will be announced and a prizegiving reading will take place on a date to be confirmed.
The Mary McKinlay Prize
The Mary McKinlay Prize is a prize awarded annually on the recommendation of the Head of Scottish Literature, to a student of English and Scottish Language and Literature. The prize winner this year was Hanna Markkanen.
The prize was established in 1995 in memory of the late distinguished schoolteacher, Mary McKinlay who had interests in the teaching and research areas represented by all three departments in the former School of English and Scottish Language and Literature.
The prize is adjudicated by the three conveners of the respective level 1 classes in consultation with the Head of School and the Chair of Teaching, Learning and Quality Committee.
James McCash, the founder of the McCash Poetry Prize competition, was a graduate of the University of Glasgow. A trained engineer, in the 1970s he won a Glasgow Herald poetry competition which had as its theme the Walter Scott quotation, ‘This is my own, my native land!’ The competition was not specifically for poetry in Scots, but his winning entry used a modern interpretation of classical sixteenth-century Scots to admirable effect.
Subsequently Mr McCash gave a generous endowment to Glasgow University for the establishment of an annual competition for poetry in the Scots language. The competition received a new impetus and much enlarged entry when the university and The Herald newspaper agreed to run it jointly in 2003, since the Glasgow-based paper, through its terrestrial and online presence, has been able to publicise it globally.
The alliance has been a fruitful one, with the judging panels including the official Scots Makars or national poets, the late Edwin Morgan and Liz Lochhead, as well as Douglas Gifford, Emeritus Professor of Scottish Literature, Nigel Leask, Regius Professor of English Literature and Language, Alan Riach, poet and Professor of Scottish Literature, and Zoe Strachan, novelist and Reader in Creative Writing at Glasgow University.
In some years a particular theme has been set: ‘Heroes’ in 2005 to mark the 700th anniversary of William Wallace’s death; a reprise of ‘This is my own, my native land!’ on the 300th anniversary of the Treaty of Union of 1707; and ‘Homecoming’ in the official Homecoming year, 2009, coinciding with the 250th anniversary of Robert Burns’s birth. In 2012, with the prospect of a referendum on independence for Scotland on the horizon, the theme was ‘The Pleasures of Hope’, recalling the title of a poem by Byron’s contemporary, Thomas Campbell.
Each theme was treated in a wide variety of ways, from the serious and sombre to the humorous and idiosyncratic. This was wholly welcome, since the judges have never wished to restrict poets to some limited, inward-looking view of themselves or their culture but rather have prized poems that are lively, open-minded, unprejudiced, meditative, satirical, passionate, witty – in short, in any tone that is carried through the language convincingly.
In 2012, an anthology of 101 poems co-edited by Lesley Duncan, poetry editor of The Herald, and Alan Riach, was published by Kennedy & Boyd: The Smeddum Test:21st-Century Poems in Scots.
The title (taken from one of the poems) employs that good Scots word ‘smeddum’, meaning strength of character, spirit, energy, vigorous common sense, and resourcefulness. The quality of the best poetry is always locked into a distinction of language. Sometimes we need to be reminded of that, whether the poems are written in Scots, Gaelic, or English, or any other language. All languages bear meanings that can be translated into other languages but, as the great American poet Robert Lowell has said, ‘The excellence of a poet depends on the unique opportunities of his native language.’
Scots is a language of many varieties and dialects, many uses and effects; close to English in many ways, but different from it in essence and extent when sampled in speech and writing, and most powerfully in poetry. In Scotland, for many generations, Gaelic and English have had the status of authoritative languages, while Scots has often been considered as nothing more than ‘a dialect of English’ – subordinate, or, worse, merely slang. Of course it is not. However it was not until 2011 that the National Census listed Scots alongside Gaelic and English as one of Scotland’s officially recognised languages.
From the start, the judges of the McCash Poetry Prize have taken a liberal and relaxed view of what constitutes the Scots language, so any variety or local idiom is open to consideration. Thus entries have ranged from modern re-workings of the classic Scots of the late Medieval and Renaissance Makars to MacDiarmid’s early twentieth-century literary vernacular, from a variety of regional dialects, from the South-West’s Burnsian tradition to the distinctive idioms of Shaetlan in the northernmost archipelago, to the Borders Scots of the Ballads, and from the Doric of the north-east to the urban idioms of Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dundee.
This makes for a lively linguistic mix. And gives a cheering insight into the continued vitality of spoken Scots, in spite of past pressures to conform to standard English in the nation’s classrooms, and the perhaps more insidious pressures to linguistic conformity imposed by mass media and the internet.
Happily, spoken Scots remains irrepressible in the daily lives of the people. Our poets make full use of the additional riches of the Scots vocabulary and idiom in their work and also demonstrate how adaptable the language is in dealing not only with the evergreen themes of love and loss, mortality, and nature, but contemporary issues. Over the years, the Tian’anmen Square massacre, the Iraq War, and the Dunblane massacre are among the subjects treated with thoughtfulness and passion.
The poets themselves demonstrate the democratic nature of the creative instinct among Scots folk, whether at home or as part of the world-wide Scottish diaspora. Prizewinners have included a former miner and psychiatric nurse, a North-Sea oil worker, a woman who achieved her university doctorate at the age of 79, a New England farmer of Scottish ancestry, as well as academics, teachers, students, and professional writers.
All are welcome.
The current 2020 McCash Poetry Competition for poems in Scots is open. The theme is ‘Travelling hopefully…’ Poems must be original, hitherto unpublished, and no more than 30 lines long. Poets may submit up to three entries. They should be printed or written legibly on A4 paper and sent by surface mail to McCash Poetry Competition, c/o Lesley Duncan, The Herald, 200 Renfield Street, Glasgow, G2 3QB or sent by e-mail to Alan.Riach@glasgow.ac.uk. Entry is free.
The judges will be Alan Riach, poet and Professor of Scottish Literature at Glasgow University; Zoe Strachan, novelist and Reader in Creative Writing at the university, and Lesley Duncan, poetry editor of The Herald.
Jessica Yorke Scholarship for English Literature/Creative Writing
About the scholarship
We are delighted to announce the Jessica Yorke Scholarship, to be awarded annually to undergraduate or taught postgraduate students of English Literature or Creative Writing demonstrating talent in, and commitment to, the field of writing for the purpose of engaging diverse audiences. We will seek to award one or more scholarships amounting to a total of £2000, part of which may be spent on a project, field trip or course that will develop the student’s skills as a writer. Recipients will be selected on the strength of their writing ability and plans to use the scholarship funds to further their skills and experience.
This scholarship has been established in memory of Jessica Yorke who graduated from the University of Glasgow in 1999 with an MA Hons in English Language and Literature. Sadly Jessica died in 2014 after a battle with lung cancer so Jessica’s family have chosen to set up the Jessica Yorke Scholarship to celebrate her memory and to encourage those who share Jessica’s passion for writing. Jessica’s interest in the field of writing and audience engagement was illustrated during her time in Glasgow through her contributions to the student publications, Glasgow Guardian and Glasgow University Magazine, and to the student newspaper at UCLA where she spent a Study Abroad year. After graduation Jessica continued her interest in this area in many ways including a course in journalism, various roles in publishing and a year spent teaching English in Kenya.
· The Jessica Yorke Scholarship will be awarded each year to undergraduate or postgraduate students of English Literature or Creative Writing demonstrating talent in, and commitment to, the field of writing for the purpose of engaging diverse audiences.
· The aim of the Scholarship is to support students in furtherance of their skills and ambitions in the field of writing. It will be funded by an annual donation of £2,000 for a period of three years in the first instance (from 2015-16), and will consist of a payment at the value decided by the Head of Subject. It is anticipated that two recipients will receive a scholarship in the region of £1,000 each year. In the event of no suitable scholar being identified in any year, no award will be made, and the funds set aside for that year will be awarded in a subsequent year.
Application Process and Selection Criteria
· Students wishing to be considered for the awards will be required to complete an application form supported by a portfolio of published writing. The article or portfolio should have been published within the past year and might take the form of a review, travel piece, interview, investigative report, column or other work of journalism. Publications from blogs with an editor/editorial board will be considered. The maximum word count is 2000 words.
· We will seek to award up to two scholarships amounting to a total of £2000, part of which may be spent on a project, field trip or course that will develop the student’s skills as a writer. Such courses might include those run by the Arvon Foundation, Moniack Mhor, Guardian Masterclasses and so on. Part-payment towards a relevant academic Master’s programme may also be appropriate.
· Recipients will be selected on the strength of their writing ability and their intentions to use the scholarship funds to further their skills and experience in writing.
· Selection of the scholarship recipients will be undertaken by a panel of academic staff led by the Head of English Literature.
· The holders of the Jessica Yorke Scholarships will be required to submit a piece of writing, resulting from use of the scholarship funds, to the Head of Subject. This will be forwarded to Michael and Patricia Yorke and may be used where appropriate by the academic department, including publication on University webpages.
How to apply
Students wishing to be considered for the awards will be required to submit a sample or portfolio of published writing, along with a completed application form (Jessica Yorke Application Form 2023). The submission(s) may take the form of a single article or a portfolio of shorter pieces. The article or portfolio should have been published within the past year and might take the form of a review, travel piece, interview, investigative report, column or other work of journalism. Publications from blogs with an editor/editorial board will be considered. The maximum word count is 2000 words.
The complete application form Jessica Yorke Application Form 2023 and submission(s) should be sent via email to: firstname.lastname@example.org by 5pm on Friday 28th April 2023. The subject line of the email should read 'The Jessica Yorke Scholarship'.
For any queries, please contact the Head of English Literature, Professor Adrian Streete: Adrian.email@example.com
University of Glasgow College of Arts International Distance Learning Scholarship
The College of Arts warmly welcomes applications from highly qualified applicants to our online distance learning masters programme in Creative Writing. We are offering a number of scholarships for admission to 2020.
To be eligible, applicants must:
- obtain a degree equivalent to a UK 2.1 Hons or higher
- be classed as international for fee purposes
- hold a conditional or unconditional offer of admission
Creative Writing (Online Distance Learning delivery only)
£3674 ( 20% tuition fee discount)
How to Apply
Applicants holding offers will be automatically assessed for the scholarship based on academic merit.
Applicants who are being considered for the scholarship will be notified within six weeks of receiving an offer.
There is no separate application form required. Please be aware that the offer of the award will be withdrawn should you choose to defer your place to 2021.
The Scholarships will be applied as a tuition fee discount following enrolment.