We are delighted to announce that acclaimed author Jenni Fagan will host this year’s Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival Writing Awards, held in partnership with Bipolar Scotland.

Jenni Fagan is best known as the author of The Panopticon, which she recently adapted for the stage in a high profile production by the National Theatre of Scotland. She has also written several books of poetry and her third novel, The Luckenbooth, is due later this year.

Always one of the most memorable events at the festival, the Writing Awards ceremony offers an opportunity for both new and experienced writers to be recognised for their creative pieces exploring mental health. On the night, all of the winning entrants are invited to read from their work, before the overall winners are awarded their prizes. There is also live music and a drinks reception. 

Andrew Eaton-Lewis, arts lead for the Mental Health Foundation, said: “We are thrilled that Jenni has agreed to host this year’s awards. She has written very powerfully about her own mental health, and her vivid descriptions of a childhood in the care system demonstrate how creativity can be an ally in difficult circumstances. She is an inspirational figure for a lot of aspiring writers.”

As well as hosting the awards, Jenni is being supported by SMHAF and Creative Scotland to deliver a mentoring session for the writer who wins first prize at this year’s awards.

There is still time to enter the competition and this year we are looking for entries on the theme of Perspectives. The theme can be interpreted in any way you choose, and submissions are welcome in each of the following categories: 

  • Fiction (Short Stories)
  • Poetry
  • Creative Non-Fiction

If you would like to enter the competition, the closing date is Sunday 1 March at midnight. Find out more here. For full guidelines and to submit your work, please download our application form.

The Writing Awards ceremony will take place at St George’s Tron Church in Glasgow from 6.30-8.30pm on Monday 4 May, the opening night of this year’s Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival. Full details and booking information will be available when the SMHAF programme is launched.