‘What’s your story?’, asks Georgia

Aspiring illustrator Georgia McLellan
Aspiring illustrator Georgia McLellan

An aspiring illustrator from Kippford is to help plan and host Scotland’s biggest creative writing and illustration conference for young people.

Scottish Book Trust has announced the names of the seven teenager writers and illustrators who have been recruited to steer the nationwide What’s Your Story? programme aimed at helping to increase opportunities for young people to access and contribute to literary culture across Scotland.

16-year-old Georgia McLellan from Kippford is part of a team of young writers and illustrators who will be responsible for planning and hosting StoryCon 2017,

This free two-day event featuring workshops, panels and network-building opportunities, for up to 100 teens (aged 13–19) each day, will be held in Glasgow on June 24–25 2017.

As part of the programme Georgia will also work on her own creative development, benefitting from a residency with The National Library of Scotland, professional mentoring, 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.

Georgia said: “I applied for the What’s Your Story? programme so that I could meet likeminded and interesting people whilst also learning more about illustration in Scotland. I hope to learn more about how a career in illustration unfolds and how I can improve and expand my own work.

“I’d like to create a series of history-related illustrations for the Autumn showcase.”

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.”

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 the mentees 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 the mentees 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.