Creative Writing student takes inaugural prose prize

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The Wallace Monument

A Creative Writing student has taken the top prize at a new competition celebrating local authors.

Sam Nimmo from Clackmannanshire received £100 for her story ‘The Stitches of Stirling’ after entering the George Buchanan Creative Writing Prize 2023. 

Established by the University of Stirling’s Faculty of Arts and Humanities and the Stirling District Tourism, the competition tasked entrants with drafting a maximum of 900 words of writing on the subject of Stirling.

Sam Nimmo photographed on campus
Sam Nimmo
MLitt Creative Writing student
It was a new experience to recite my work in front of a live audience, but I really enjoyed it.

Sam, 22, said: “I saw the competition as a really good opportunity to challenge myself. My writing tends to take a dark and feminist focus, and I wanted to take a fresh take on the theme of ‘Stirling’, outside of its usual connotations of castles and monuments.

“My short flash fiction piece is about the women of Stirling and focuses on a witch, the inspirational Jane Ferrier and an imagined current female student at Stirling University.” 


Sam has previously featured on BBC Scotland’s ‘The Social’ and was also invited on to BBC Radio to perform her writing. She studied English as an undergraduate student at Stirling, during which she gave birth to her son, now aged 3, and joined the MLitt Creative Writing programme in October 2022.

Sam added: “It was a new experience to recite my work in front of a live audience, but I really enjoyed it.”

Sam performed her work at the George Buchanan Lecture held at the Legends Café at the Wallace Monument on Thursday 25 May and received her prize from the Buchanan of Buchanan, Mike Buchanan.

The event was organised as part of celebrations of the upcoming 900th anniversary of Stirling burgh.

Dr Liam Bell, Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Stirling, said: “We were delighted to receive such a strong response to the inaugural George Buchanan Creative Writing Competition, kindly sponsored by Stirling District Tourism, and received multiple wonderful entries. 

“However, we unanimously agreed that Sam's entry was the winner. It was embedded in the history of Stirling and featured the voices of real-life women woven through the narrative.”