Linda Duncan McLaughlin has won the 2016 Goat Bursary created by author Joanna Cannon (pictured) and agent Sue Armstrong.
Created in association with The Writers’ Workshop, the bursary is for an unpublished writer in need of financial support to attend the Festival of Writing. It received an "overwhelming" 250 applications.
Duncan McLaughlin from Glasgow, who has been working on her novel Original Sins since 2010, was awarded the first prize. She receives The Goat Bursary which includes two nights’ campus accommodation, all meals, a festival pass and travel expenses, and is worth over £800. The bursary also includes editorial feedback from Armstrong who is an agent at Conville & Walsh.
Runner-up Nasreen Rafiq is writing her first novel, Sunset House, in which acid attack survivor, Riffat Ali, converts her quintessentially English house into a communal home for the Asian elderly. Rafiq has received a day pass to the Festival of Writing including Saturday night accommodation, sponsored by The Writers’ Workshop, with travel expenses covered by Cannon, for her prize.
Cannon said: “I was thrilled by the number of entries we received, and very reassured by just how many goats are out there. Most importantly, there are many wonderful working class and BAME voices waiting in the community, and I do hope The Goat Bursary goes some way in helping these voices to be heard. Linda and Nasreen both stood out to us as people who had continued to believe in their ability as writers, despite many setbacks, and I feel confident the Festival will offer them a much deserved and unique opportunity to reinforce that belief.”
Duncan McLaughlin said: “Attending the Festival of Writing would offer an unbelievable opportunity to access help of a quality just not available anywhere else. The practical workshops would offer the chance to gain invaluable tips, skills and knowledge; and a one-to-one with an agent and publisher would immeasurably sharpen up my understanding of how to approach them and hopefully, even, open a door for the future. In short, attending the Festival would offer me the vital support/motivation/kick-in-the-pants/leg-up that would be of such value at this point in my career”.
The Festival of Writing is an opportunity for unpublished authors to meet publishers, get advice from professional authors and pitch their work direct to agents. It takes place at York University from 9th to 11th September 2016.