The Ulster-Scots Writing Competition 2022

Everybody kens a wee bit o’ Ulster-Scots and this is your chance to get creative with it.

We are pleased to inform you that with the support of the Ulster-Scots Agency, The Linen Hall will be hosting an Ulster–Scots writing competition this Autumn.   

There will be two competition categories, one for prose and one for poetry. The winner for each section will receive £500 and one runner-up for each section will receive £250. The winners will be announced during Burns Week in January 2023 and the winning entries will be published in a special edition anthology.

A distinguished panel of judges has been assembled to adjudicate Dr Frank Ferguson, Ally Heather and Dr Carol Baraniuk.

The deadline for entry is Tuesday 1st November 2022 at 5 pm, and below you can find the Entry Guidelines.

Entry Guidelines:

1.            The competition is open to writers born or resident in Ulster or Scotland over 16 years of age.

2.            Entries MUST be written in Ulster-Scots.

3.            No entry form is required.

4.            Entries must NOT have been, by the date of submission, published or broadcast in any medium.

5.            Entries must be typed, in double spacing, using only one side of A4 paper. 

6.            Prose entries must NOT exceed 3000 words and poetry entries must NOT exceed 40 lines.

7.            Entries can be emailed to or posted to the Linen Hall Library at the address below. Hard copy entries will not be returned.

8.            No indication of the writer’s identity should be placed on the entry and name, address, or telephone. number and e-mail address should be submitted under a separate cover with the title Ulster-Scots Writing Competition.

9.            Only one entry per applicant.

10.          The decision of the judges is final.

11.          Only winners and runners-up will be notified.

12.          Neither judges nor Linen Hall Library staff will enter into any correspondence regarding the competition.

13.          The Winners will be awarded their prizes in the Linen Hall during Burns Week in January 2022.

14.          The Linen Hall Library reserves the right to select for publication such entries as may be deemed appropriate, in any year.

15.          The Linen Hall Library will liaise with successful authors in preparing texts for publication.

About the judges: 

Dr Frank Ferguson is the Director of the Centre for Irish and Scottish Studies. He has over fifteen years’ experience as a researcher and teacher in literary studies. He joined Ulster University in 2005 as a Research Associate at the Institute of Ulster Scots Studies and became a lecturer in 2010. Before then he had taught at Queen’s University Belfast.

Ally Heather is the Marketing Manager at the Scottish Poetry Library. His passion is in developing platforms for smaller communities, empowering them to tell their stories as widely as possible. He writes for Scottish newspapers, presents and is a guest on BBC television and radio programmes and a regular public speaker. Through years of public engagement & communications work with the University of Aberdeen, Dundee United and other national institutions he has developed expertise in engagement around culture, creating meaningful interaction between institutions and wider publics. His interests are primarily Scottish culture, language, history and the fitba, but he often roams further afield.

Dr Carol Baraniuk is a Research Associate in Robert Burns Studies at the University of Glasgow, working on the AHRC funded project ‘Editing Robert Burns for the 21st Century’. She completed her PhD at the University of Glasgow in 2009, and her thesis on Burns’s Ulster-Scots contemporary James Orr was published as James Orr, Poet and Irish Radical (2014). She has published and presented widely on Ulster-Scots and Scottish literary traditions. Carol has an essay on the early twentieth-century Co. Down poet, Florence Wilson in the recently published, Irish Women Poets Rediscovered (2021) and two essays in preparation for the forthcoming Oxford Handbook to Robert Burns, one co-written with renowned Burns scholar Gerard Carruthers.