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Ian Bell new writing competition winners 2019

Greg Ritchie, Peter Stewart and Catriona O'Sullivan   -  © Jen McVey

26 March 2019

The awards for the 2019 Ian Bell new writing competition, set up in memory of the journalist by the Bell family and Edinburgh and District NUJ branch, were presented on 23 March at the Aye Write! book festival in Glasgow.

Pictured (left to right) are prizewinners Greg Ritchie from Dunfermline, studying History and Politics at Oxford (joint runner-up); Peter Stewart, a third-year journalism student at Stirling University (first prize); and Catriona O'Sullivan (joint runner-up) from Edinburgh.

Neal Ascherson, Susan Flockhart and Layla-Roxanne Hill, competition judges, praised the entrants for writing for an adult and intelligent audience. "It was important that you were all angry about something," commented Ascherson.

Sean Bell, Ian's son, also a journalist, congratulated the winners on behalf of the Bell family. He paid tribute to the NUJ, "without whom these awards would not exist". He added:

"The era in which my father became a journalist was very different from today, with different opportunities and challenges. Be inspired by the past, by all means - I encourage it. But don't be beholden to it. Figure out what kind of journalist you want to be, then do all you can to achieve it."

Hilary Horrocks, vice-chair of Edinburgh and District NUJ, of which Ian Bell was a member, said:

"We are delighted at how much the award has meant to the young winners. We can't offer a big cash prize, but all of them said how much confidence it had given them simply to have their work recognised in the tough world of journalism.
"Our thanks go to the judges for their hard work - they also provided constructive criticism to the non-winners - and to Bella Caledonia for publishing all the winning entries."

Tags: , edinburgh branch, young journalists, awards, ian bell