Broch man launches writing competition

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A writing competition inspired by the cultural similarities between Doric and twin city Regensburg’s Bavarian dialect has been launched by a student from Fraserburgh.

Next year will see the 60th anniversary of the twinning of the Granite City and Regensburg in Germany.

As part of the celebrations, a University of Aberdeen student, originally from Fraserburgh, is launching Write Aberdeen in collaboration with Aberdeen City Council.

Ten winning entries from each city will be published in a new collection of work in 2015 and a £100 prize will be awarded for each of the selected pieces.

Shane Strachan, 25, who is in his third year of a PhD in Creative Writing, came up with the concept for Write Aberdeen following a visit to Regensburg last summer, supported by the council’s Twinning and International Partnerships section.

Commenting, Shane said: “During my visit I was struck by the many interesting comparisons which can be made between Aberdeen and Regensburg.

“Both cities have much-loved regional cultures and dialects in Doric and Bavarian, both have famous rivers running through them, and both have strong economies built around world-renowned industries.

“We hope that the 2015 Write Aberdeen collection will get below the surface and express the cities in a more personal manner, allowing residents of both Aberdeen and Regensburg to really get to know what life is like in their twin city.”

The competition, which is open to anyone over 18, will accept submissions written in full or in part in Doric, as well as in standard English. Those in the Bavarian dialect will also be welcomed in the Regensburg, which is being run by the Volkshochschulen (VHS) alongside the Aberdeen contest.

The pieces, which can be poetry or prose, fiction or non-fiction, should also be focused on the city in some way through its themes, location or the use of local language.

Shane’s own research based around the North-east and the decline of fishing communities had fostered his interest in the use of dialects in creative writing.

Shane added: “I’ve been heavily involved with the Aberdeen Student Shows and am Script Editor for the 2014 production Wullie Wonkie and the Fine Piece Factory.

“The play on words and use of regional dialect is always a big hit with audiences and I’ve worked on the Doric and Gaelic 100 Words Project with Aberdeen City Council’s Creative Learning team which invited residents to choose their favourite 100 Doric words which were then turned into artworks to celebrate language in the city.

“I think the similarities in dialect words will help to create a common connection between writers in Aberdeen and Regensburg. For example, in Bavaria they say ‘städter’ for a city-dweller, where Aberdonians might say ‘toonser’.”

The competition will be judged by award-winning writers Wayne Price and Helen Lynch. Both judges, lecturers in Literature and Creative Writing at the university, will also be involved with free workshops for beginning writers which are set to take place in the run-up to the competition deadline of August 1.

Entrants can submit up to four pieces of writing which will be judged during August, with the ten winning entries being announced in September. The winning works will be translated and produced in time for the publication launch in mid-2015.

For further competition details, including how to enter, visit

Anyone interested in attending the Write Aberdeen writing workshops should register their interest via