The Kelpies Prize for Writing

The 2020 prize has been postponed.

Floris Books has taken the sad decision to cancel the Kelpies Prizes for Writing and Illustration this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the uncertain months that lie ahead. The far-reaching impact of the pandemic means that we will not be able to judge the prizes effectively, hold the ceremony or commit to honouring the prize-packages promised to each winner.

We have emailed all our entrants and entries will be rolled over until next year unless we are asked otherwise. We are looking forward to launching The Kelpies Prizes 2021 later in the year.

2019 Winner

The winner of the Kelpies Prize 2019 was revealed as Edinburgh-based dentist Christopher Mackie at an exclusive award ceremony at Edinburgh International Book Festival on Thursday 15th August. Author and illustrator Catherine Rayner was there to open the top-secret envelope and present the winner’s trophy.

Christopher has won a year of mentoring with the editorial team at Floris Books, along with a publication deal, £1,000 cash and a week-long writing retreat at Moniack Mhor, Scotland’s creative writing centre.

Catherine Rayner and Christopher Mackie

Christopher Mackie grew up in a quiet village outside of Glasgow and first learnt the art of storytelling when he convinced his parents he had nothing to do with that stain on the carpet. Since then, he’s grown up very little, learnt even less, and now works as a dentist in Forth Valley, despite living in Edinburgh, because no dentist should ever live within ten miles of their patients. Chris spends his free time writing or pestering his family and long-suffering girlfriend to read whatever he’s working on. He’d love to do a bit more writing and a bit less gum gardening, but he’s become accustomed to a roof over his head, so he’s prepared to compromise on that front. Chris has no writing qualifications whatsoever, but his mum thinks his stories are “quite good”. We certainly agree!

The judges enjoyed Christopher’s insightful characterisation, his powerful, engaging narrative voice, and skilful writing for older readers. Head to our previous winners page to read an extract from his winning entry!

History of the Kelpies Prize

The Kelpies Prize was launched in 2004 to find the best new Scottish writing for children. Since then, it has gone from strength to strength, with many of the winners and shortlisters going on to have sparkling writing careers. In 2019, we changed the format of the prize to reflect our new aims of nurturing and developing children’s writers in Scotland, asking entrants to submit a selection of writing samples as opposed to a complete manuscript. In addition, we introduced an all-new prize package including a year of mentoring with our experienced editorial team.

Find out more about our past Kelpies Prize winners.