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HighlandLIT 2021 Writing Competition


HighlandLIT invites submissions for a Writing Competition:

Up to 500 words of prose/20 lines of poetry on the theme of Celebration.

CELEBRATION is The Scottish Book Trust’s theme for Book Week Scotland 2021, and their 5 strands are listed below* if you’re looking for inspiration.

The competition is open to adults over the age of 16, regardless of place of residence, with the exception of HighlandLIT Committee members and their immediate families.

There is a fee of £5 for each story or poem entered, payable in advance of submission.


Short Stories placed 1st, 2nd & 3rd, will receive prizes of £50, £30 & £20 respectively.

Poems placed 1st, 2nd & 3rd, will also receive prizes of £50, £30 & £20 respectively.

Additional Prizes

Book tokens kindly gifted by HRI Architects, Inverness and Thurso


Kindly donated by the author, D.L. Marshall

Two copies of Anthrax Island

Kindly donated by Orenda Books:

The Source by Sarah Sultoon
This is how we are human by Louise Beech
Deity by Matt Wesolowski
Girls who lie by Eva Bjorg Aegisdottir



Judging will be by members of the HighlandLIT Committee who will draw up the shortlists, and the author and storyteller Bob Pegg will select the winning entries.

Celebration evening

Bob Pegg will host HighlandLIT’s Book Week Scotland event on 16 November 2021, at which the authors of the winning entries (or their nominated representatives) will read their stories and poems and the prizes will be presented. (We hope this will be an ‘in person’ event, but should COVID restrictions be re-introduced, it will be held on Zoom.)

After the Book Week Scotland event, the winning entries will be published on the HighlandLIT website, together with other submissions as chosen by the judges; rights remain with authors. Submission of an entry will be taken as agreement for the entry to be published on the website.


The judges’ decision is final. Winners will be notified on 19 October 2021.


Please share the news of this competition with family and friends and encourage them to enter. 

How to enter


  • Entrants must be at least 16-years-old on the closing date 21 September 2021.

  • Entries should not have been published or accepted for publication elsewhere, in print or online, by a mainstream or independent publisher.

  • Entries that have received a prize in any other competition are not eligible.

  • Entries should not be a translation of another author’s work.

  • Entries should be in English.

  • Short Stories should not exceed 500 words (including the story’s title). Poems should not exceed 20 lines (excluding the title).

  • An entry number will be allocated to you when you have paid the £5 entry fee: this number, and NOT your name, should appear together with the TITLE of your story on all pages of your entry.

  • Formatting and style: your entry should be typed in 12pt font, either Arial or Times New Roman, double-spaced, on A4 pages, in .doc or .docx or pdf format.

  • We regret that we cannot accept printed copies of entries: your entry must be submitted online.

  • Once submitted, no alterations can be made to your entry.

  • Your entry will be judged anonymously and must NOT include your name, contact details or any other information that may reveal your identity to the judges; if it does, it will be disqualified.



Payment must be made before you submit your competition entry.  Pay by going to the HighlandLIT on-line store  https://www.highlandlit.com/online-store and selecting the ‘2021 Writing Competition Fee’ item.  You can also pay by BACS – the details are on the on-line store page. If paying by BACS please let us know you have paid by emailing highlandlit.com@gmail.com.

Payment must be received by HighlandLIT by 23:55 on 13 September 2021.

On receipt of payment, we will email you your entry number to use with your submission.

The fee is non-refundable, so don’t forget to submit your entry, and please remember not to include information (ie anything identifying you as the author)  that will lead to its disqualification.



Entries must be submitted by 23:55 on 21 September 2021

Before submitting your entry, please check:

  1. Have you included your allocated number and your story title on every page?

  2. Have you followed the instructions for formatting?

  3. Have you made sure your entry does NOT include your name or contact details?


Submit your entry via email to competitionhighlandlit@gmail.com


You will receive a response to thank you for your submission/s but due to administration being done by volunteers it might take a day or two. (If you haven’t received a response within this time-frame, please check your spam folder.)

Personal details held by HighlandLIT for the purposes of contacting you about your competition entry will be deleted no later than one week after the Book Week Scotland event on 16 November 2021.



Celebrating You – tell us about the personal achievements that mean something to you and what makes them important. It could be something small, like your perfect folding technique, or a more significant moment of achievement in your life that helped you grow.

How We Celebrate – what celebration rituals do you have with your family, partner, and friends? How did they start, how do they make you feel, why do they matter? Has lockdown reinforced how important these communal celebrations are?

Celebrating Others – tell us about someone you think deserves to be celebrated – what makes them special, what have they done, what do they mean to you?

Where I Was When We Celebrated? – what do you remember about a defining moment of communal celebration? It could be VE day, the Moon Landing, the legalisation of gay marriage, or another event we celebrated together as a community. Where were you, who were you with and why was it important to mark that moment of celebration?

What Would You Like to Celebrate? – what moments of change worth celebrating are you hoping for as we emerge from the pandemic? These could be personal or universal moments, or anything in-between.