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Young Paisley poet is a Scottish Book Trust participant for What’s Your Story?

Scottish Book Trust, the national charity transforming lives through reading and writing, has today announced the seven teenage writers and illustrators who will join the What’s Your Story? programme. Now in its fourth year, the scheme has so far assisted over 20 young people from across Scotland to develop writing, illustration and performance projects. 

Devin McRoberts (pictured), 15, from Paisley, is a performance poet. He applied to What’s Your Story? to develop his skills and gain the confidence to become a performer.

In his work, he hopes to address important issues such as mental health and use his voice to support other young people. During the programme, Devin will be mentored by Jenny Lindsay, performance poet and director of Flint and Pitch.

Seven teens in total were selected by a judging team, which included one of the previous What’s Your Story? participants, and representatives from Creative Scotland, The National Library of Scotland, The Gaelic Books Council and Scottish Book Trust. Participants were selected on the enthusiasm and dedication they expressed for teenage participation in creative and literary culture.

The young people recently received an induction programme with The National Library of Scotland, where they had the opportunity to research their chosen subject and gain inspiration for their personal creative works. They have also taken part in a week long retreat at Moniack Mhor, Scotland’s creative writing centre, where they had dedicated time with their mentors.

As part of the What’s Your Story?, the participants will plan and host StoryCon 2019, Scotland’s biggest creative writing and illustration conference for young people. Last year, this took place in Glasgow and was attended by over 100 young people.

The young people will have the opportunity to preview their creative projects at a showcase event, wrapping up the work they have completed during the What’s Your Story? programme. Industry experts will train the young people to express their work in front of a live audience, with the use of music and images.

Organised and run by Scottish Book Trust, What’s Your Story? was originally funded by Time to Shine, Creative Scotland’s national youth arts strategy and is the first nationwide programme of its kind in Scotland. This year it is funded by Badenoch Trust, Kiran’s Trust and The Hugh Fraser Foundation, as well as other trusts and private donors. What’s Your Story? is free to take part in and travel expenses will be covered for all participants. The Gaelic Books Council also funds a Gaelic-language place.

Devin McRoberts said: “Life is a stream of opportunities and I wanted to grab this one, to help me develop by working other people. I hope to add a twist to my poetry that will make my pieces more appealing to young people. I also want to highlight in my poetry that mental health is an important issue in society and the more we encourage people to talk about it, the more we can help them.”

Marc Lambert, CEO of Scottish Book Trust, said: “Scottish Book Trust is pleased to launch the fourth year of the What’s Your Story? programme, highlighting new and upcoming talent in the Scottish literary scene. We are grateful to our funders, for making this programme possible, and also to our mentors for providing life-changing support and advice to the young people. We look forward to seeing the work they produce throughout the year.”

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