Ulster-Scots Writing Competition


With the support of the Ulster-Scots Agency, The Linen Hall will be hosting its third annual Ulster–Scots writing competition this Summer.

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 the Ulster-Scots Language Week in November and the winning entries will be published in a special edition anthology.

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

The deadline for entry is Thursday 31st August 2023 at 5 pm, and below you can find the Entry Guidelines.


  • The competition is open to writers born or resident in Ulster or Scotland over 16 years of age.
  • Entries MUST be written in Ulster-Scots.
  • No entry form is required.
  • Entries must NOT have been, by the date of submission, published or broadcast in any medium.
  • Entries must be typed, in double spacing. Please write on one side of the page only.
  • Prose entries must NOT exceed 3,000 words and poetry entries must NOT exceed 40 lines.
  • Entries can be emailed to info@linenhall.com or posted to the Linen Hall Library at the address below. Hard-copy entries will not be returned.
  • 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.
  • Only one entry per applicant.
  • The decision of the judges is final.
  • Only winners and runners-up will be notified.
  • Neither judges nor The Linen Hall staff will enter into any correspondence regarding the competition.
  • The Winners will be awarded their prizes in The Linen Hall during Ulster-Scots Language Week in November 2023.
  • The Linen Hall reserves the right to select for publication such entries as may be deemed appropriate, in any year.
  • The Linen Hall will liaise with successful authors in preparing texts for publication.

About the judges:

Dr Carol Baraniuk

Dr Carol Baraniuk is a member of the Glasgow University team editing Robert Burns’s letters for publication by Oxford University Press. 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.

Dr Frank Ferguson

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 and creative writing. 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. From May 2023, Dr Ferguson has been a member of the Board of Governors of The Linen Hall.

Ally Heather

Ally Heather is a writer, presenter and columnist from Scotland’s east coast.  He works regularly on the BBC and writes for several Scottish newspapers regularly. He was raised in a village where Scots is a prominent language, and has always used it in his work. He has hosted Na Trads, Scotland’s first bilingual Gaelic/Scots television programme, since 2020.