Andrew Pettigrew, aged 14, who is a student at the Royal Blind School in Morningside, Edinburgh, is the recipient of the Pushkin Prizes creative writing award for Scottish students.
Andrew is just one of 10 students in Scotland to win a prestigious writing award and was handed his prize by Scottish crime writer, Ian Rankin.
As part of his prize he will travel to the Highlands for a week of workshops at the end of April with the prize announced not long after the Hamilton teenager was also named the winner of the Seeing Ear Creative Writing Competition, and with it, more than £800 worth of assistive technology software.
Speaking at the presentation, which was attended by some of Andrew’s teachers, fellow students and his parents, Josephine and Alan Pettigrew, Mr Rankin, author of the internationally best-selling Rebus crime series said he was “very impressed” with Andrew’s winning poem, adding: “Let me say what a thrill it is to be here. All human beings have imagination and creativity, especially when you’re young, you have endless imagination and endless creativity.
At some point the adult world usually says you’ve got to grow up and stop doing that, you’ve got to put away your imaginary friends and stop creating these imaginary worlds in your head and on paper.
Writers say no thanks, I’m going to be a kid the rest of my life, I’m going to keep those imaginary friends and I’m going to keep creating these other worlds, these other universes where I can control it and its great fun as well as being therapeutic.
I will congratulate you again, this is a wonderful, two prizes you’ve won, I’m so thrilled for you pal.”
Andrew’s poem is a touching paean about his hero Louis Braille, who created the raised typeface system that many blind people rely on to be able to read words on paper.
Andrew became interested in reading after he began to lose his vision as a young child, saying: “I wasn’t interested in reading until I lost my sight when I was young. Then I used action figures to tell stories and from there I started writing them in Braille. I was so happy when I found out I won the awards I did a bit of a victory dance. It was really exciting to meet Ian Rankin.”
As part of his award from the Pushkin Prize 2016 Andrew will attend a week-long creative writing workshop in Monjack Mhor.
PIC © Sandy Young
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