Award winner, Mary Gillies, with her husband, John Angus, and children, Jonathan (19), Joanna (17) and David (2)

The first Gaelic Writing for Children Award has been presented to a Western Isles resident, Mary Gillies.

The competition received entries from across Scotland, as well as an entry from Canada.

Mary’s submission - a Gaelic story for 5 to 8-year-olds - beat off the competition to win the award.

Along with a £500 prize, Mary also receives the opportunity to have her manuscript considered by Acair Books, with a view to getting it published.

The award, Duais Sgrìobhaidh Do Chlann Ann An Gàidhlig, is a partnership between An Lanntair, Acair Books and Western Isles Libraries which aims to inspire and encourage new writers to write for children and highlight the importance of original language books for young readers.  

For its launch year, the award was funded through a grant from the Carnegie UK Trust.

Kathleen Milne, Manager of Western Isles Libraries said: “We are extremely grateful to the Carnegie UK Trust whose support has made it possible for us to pilot the award. The positive response it has received shows that it has succeeded in highlighting children’s literature and inspiring new writers for children in Gaelic.”

Agnes Rennie, Manager of Acair Books said: “This year Acair Books celebrates its 40th anniversary, and so it was a particularly special year for us to support this award.  Many of the first books Acair published were for children and over 40 years inspiring a love of books and reading among the young are still at the heart of what we do.”

Moira MacDonald, Head of Education and Outreach at An Lanntair said: “Duais Sgrìobhaidh Do Chlann Ann An Gàidhlig represents a wonderful opportunity for new writers.  We offer our congratulations to Mary Gillies and to the other talented writers who applied.”

Due to the positive response the award has received, the partner organisations are investigating continued support so that Duais Sgrìobhaidh Do Chlann Ann An Gàidhlig can be an annual event.