Young writers are keen readers

We’re just back from our annual week at Moniack Mhor, Scotland ‘s Writers’ Centre, with this year’s cohort of Pushkin Prize-winners – all in their first and second years of secondary school.

The Pushkin Prizes celebrates its 30th birthday this year – 30 years of encouraging young writers to put pen to paper, on any subject and in any genre. Two of our winners come from schools in St Petersburg, and the other ten from schools all over Scotland.

This year’s tutors were Gerry Cambridge – poet and editor of The Dark Horse, and novelist and poet Joan Lennon. Alongside their work with the children, both were anticipating new publications – the proofs of the next edition of The Dark Horse arrived during the week, and Joan gave the first reading of Granny Garbage, being launched by Happenstance Press next week.

On Tuesday evening, we talked about favourite books – and everybody read an extract. It’s always a fascinating evening, and this year’s selection was as varied as ever, proving that whatever trends we detect, confident teenagers/young adults – call them what you will – read widely and independently.

Here’s the list:

Milana – The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
Sophie – Throne of Glass – Sarah J Maas
Aidan – The Recruit (CHERUB series) – Robert Muchamore
Simon – Tooth and Nail – Ian Rankin
Rakela – Lockwood and Co by Jonathan Stroud
Aaron – Skulduggery Pleasant series by Derek Landy
Daisy – A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
Samantha – Hero at the Fall by Alwyn Hamilton
Matthew – A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness (the edition illustrated by Jim Kay)
Evie – What Katy Did by Susan M Coolidge and Katy by Jacqueline Wilson
Beccie – Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein
Lizzie – Heart of a Dog by Mikhail Bulgakov
Lindsey – To a Frustrated Poet by R J Ellman
Joan – Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve
Kari – The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy
Kathryn – The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark
Gerry – A Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin

You can read more about The Pushkin Prizes on our website – and on our FaceBook page here .