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Arts / Delight for local writer after winning book trust’s national award

Siún Carden. Photo: Scottish Book Trust

A WRITER living in Shetland has been announced as one of eleven recipients of Scottish Book Trust’s prestigious New Writers Award for 2024.

Siún Carden works as a research fellow at UHI Shetland’s centre for island creativity.

Originally from County Down in Northern Ireland, the 41-year-old moved to Shetland “partly because of my fascination with knitting, which some of my academic writing examines”.

Her research also includes arts-based work with care experienced young people supported by Who Cares? Scotland, who call themselves the #ShetlandCrew.

Every year Scottish Book Trust charity holds the prestigious year-long writer development programme to support burgeoning writers living in Scotland.

As well as a £2,000 cash award, they will receive mentorship from writers and industry professionals, a week-long retreat, and opportunities to showcase work to publishing industry professionals.

Shetland has previous history with the award given that local writer Hannah Nicholson was selected in 2021.

Alongside Carden, this year’s awardees are Gaelic teachers and writers Kristina Nicolson and Iain Cuimeanach, writer visual artist Amos O’Connor, spoken word artist John Lawrie, Scots language writer Ross Crawford, essayist and novelist Sarah Whiteside, novelist Katherine Hudson, musician and novelist Les Hodge, poet Pip Osmond-Williams, and children’s author Taslin Pollock.

Carden’s poetry has appeared in places like Magma (the Climate Change issue), The Tangerine, Glasgow Review of Books, Northwords Now and The New Shetlander.

Her first poetry pamphlet, Tract, was published by the Well Review in 2023.

She is a lead reader with Open Book and helps to organise Shetland’s North Star Cabaret events.

Carden said: “Hearing I’d received a New Writers Award was so hard to believe that I didn’t tell anyone until the official paperwork arrived, in case I’d dreamed it.

“It’s an amazing opportunity and I’m looking forward to learning a lot this year.”

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Marc Lambert, CEO of Scottish Book Trust, said: ‘It’s always incredible to meet our awardees for the New Writers Award, and I’d like to offer my congratulations to this year’s cohort, each of whom have demonstrated exceptional writing.

“With our awardees exploring a rich variety of themes in their work, and writing in English, Gaelic and Scots, I am excited to follow their journey throughout the year and beyond, as we help to nurture and build on their talents.”

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