Mar 202015
John Reid - Toulmin Prize Credit Leopard Magazine

John Reid – Toulmin Prize. Credit: Leopard Magazine

Courtesy of Leopard Magazine.

The University of Aberdeen’s Elphinstone Institute has launched the 2015 Toulmin Prize, with £500 up for grabs for the winning entry.

The competition, now in its seventh year, commemorates the work of one of the North-east’s finest exponents of the short story.

John Reid (1913-1998) was an Aberdeenshire farm labourer from Rathen, near Fraserburgh, who spent most of his life working long hours for very small rewards.

In odd moments, he jotted down short stories, character studies and bothy tales. Eventually, as David Toulmin, he had a few articles printed in local newspapers.

The first of his 10 books was published when he was 59. The books consist mostly of short stories and reminiscences, with his one novel, Blown Seed, painting a harsh picture of farm life. In the later years of his life, Reid moved to Pittodrie Place, Aberdeen (later to Westhill) and was awarded an honorary degree by the University of Aberdeen in 1986.

The Toulmin Prize is open to all amateur writers over the age of 16. The short story – up to 4000 words in length – should be concerned with some aspect of life in North-east Scotland and may be written in Scots, including Doric, or English, or a mixture of the two. Previous prize-winners cannot submit an entry.

In addition to the cash prize, the winning entry will be published in Leopard Magazine and subsequently featured on the website of the Scots Language Centre.

The award for the best entry will be made at the University of Aberdeen’s May Festival, when the winning story will be read aloud by well-known North-east writer, Sheena Blackhall.

The closing date for entries is 31 March 2015. For entry details and a form, please visit:

Text and photo courtesy of Leopard Magazine