Welcome to the Caledonia Novel Award, an Edinburgh-based, international award for unpublished and self-published novelists.
Shortlist judge: Madeleine Milburn, literary agent and founder of Madeleine Milburn Literary, TV & Film Agency
Special Prize: a free place on a writing course at Moniack Mhor Creative Writing Centre for the best novel from the UK and Ireland
MONIACK MHOR CREATIVE WRITING CENTRE
Here at The Caledonia Novel Award, we are really keen to nurture undiscovered talent and encourage new writers. With this in mind, we are very excited to announce that, for the second year running, we are offering a special prize for the best novel submitted by an author from the UK and Ireland. This prize is a free place on a writing course at Moniack Mhor Creative Writing Centre, situated in the Scottish Highlands, just 14 miles from Inverness. The winner will be able to choose from a selection of week-long residential courses taking place there in 2018. Details of the 2017 courses, and further information about this excellent resource, can be found at http://www.moniackmhor.org.uk.
Moniack Mhor is Scotland’s Creative Writing Centre. The centre runs residential creative writing courses and partnership courses throughout the year for adults and young people at all stages of their writing career. Courses are tutored by established writers, with a mid-week visit from a guest writer, and cover many different genres. Moniack Mhor also runs one-off events for writers, outreach workshops, awards and a fellowship. High on a hill close to Loch Ness, the centre is an inspirational and nurturing setting for writers to spend an intensive period focussing on their work.
Many thanks to Moniack Mhor for their participation and continuing support.
2017 WINNER OF MONIACK MHOR WRITING RETREAT PRIZE
Little did I know, when writing Take Flight, which is set in a drought-stricken Australian landscape, that I’d end up editing it in a place almost the polar opposite. Moniack Mhor Creative Writing Centre, in the lush Scottish Highlands, became my home for a week after winning The Caledonia Novel Award’s special prize for best novel from the UK and Ireland.
I chose a Fiction writing course tutored by Kevin MacNeil and Tiffany Murray, with Patrick Gale as our special mid-week guest. I knew I was choosing a course with brilliant writers as tutors, but what I didn’t know, or entirely expect, was how much I’d bond with the incredible and supportive group of students attending the course.
On the first evening, after a hearty dinner prepared by the Centre’s staff, Kevin led all of the students through an introductory writing exercise. It is quite a vulnerable thing to do, to share something you’ve written with a group of strangers. I was nervous that first night. But my fear was misplaced. Everyone had chosen to do the course for different reasons – from finishing a novel to writing creative prose for the first time – but each person was similar in their generosity of spirit and their passion for creativity.
I had originally thought I’d spend most of the week in my room or tucked away by a window, writing. And I did spend many hours at the little desk in my room, which had a beautiful view of the ‘Hobbit House’ and fields beyond. But, more important than the words I wrote, were the many hours I spent in tutorials, one-to-ones, readings and informally with other students improving the quality of my writing. I learnt to think about scenes differently, to review and edit dialogue critically, and I wrote down so many little tips that, though they seem obvious now, I had either forgotten or had not occurred to me before. On top of this, each day involved hearing people read their stories. Both tutors and students shared their work; some of it funny, some sad, some polished and some very raw and new. Each day I glimpsed a slice of an individual’s fantastic world, or was dragged back in history or granted entry to the most private of moments. It was bliss!
I’d like to say a huge thank you to The Caledonia Novel Award for this very special prize. I’m so thankful that the Award teamed up with Moniack Mhor to offer a place on one of their retreats, because, for a writer, time and space to write is just about the best thing you could possibly offer. For anyone considering entering the Award this year, I would say: just sit down, write those words and make it happen. Make this year the year you write a novel!
“I was delighted to be invited to judge this year’s shortlist.” Richard Pike of Curtis Brown, 2017 Shortlist Judge
“It has never been less than a fascinating and thoroughly absorbing experience.” Kathryn Ross of
Fraser Ross Associates Literary Agency, 2016 Shortlist Judge
“Thank you again for this tremendous honour!” Cam Terwilliger, 2017 Winner with Yet Wilderness Grew in My Heart
“Such a great competition! Helpful feedback, great prizes – highly recommend entering!” Hannah Foster, 2017 Shortlistee with Take Flight