Brian Taylor, one of the best-known figures in contemporary Scottish journalism, will lead the judging panel for this year’s Anne Brown Essay Prize.

The annual award, which champions Scottish writing talent, carries a £1,500 prize.

Mr Taylor, who is a commentator, columnist and former BBC political editor, has a close interest in essays as a means of offering fresh perspectives on contemporary life.

He said: “Now more than ever it is vital to attempt to make sense of our confused and confusing world. 

“A succinct essay can do just that, getting to the core, providing insight and enlightenment.”  

The competition, organised by Wigtown Book Festival is for the best literary essay by a writer in or from Scotland.

It commemorates former festival chair and BBC radio journalist Anne Brown.

Mr Taylor was aware of the quality of her work – covering issues such as the Orkney child abuse scandal – and her commitment to promoting the best in writing.

Last year’s prize was won by Rodge Glass, for On The Covenant, and will be included in his forthcoming book Joshua in The Sky: A Blood Memoir, published this September.

He said: “I’d encourage anyone in Scotland interested in writing nonfiction to enter the Anne Brown Prize. 

“It was wonderful to be able to share the work publicly and raise awareness of the issues I discussed – one of which is HHT, the rare blood condition shared across my family, which is so little understood. 

“Last year’s shortlist was full of writers I really admire like Kirsty Logan and Jen Stout, and I’m convinced nonfiction in Scotland is strong. It’s essential to have a home for the essay that gives it more of a profile.”

Adrian Turpin, the festival’s Artistic Director, said: “We’re very pleased to be welcoming such a respected figure in Scottish national life as Brian to lead this year’s judging.

“His involvement will help us raise the profile of essay writing. 

“Sadly, there are few opportunities for essay writers to get their work seen by the wider public. This competition attempts to change that.”

Entries can be on any subject but there is a 4,000-word limit and entries close on 31 May.

The winner will be revealed at a special event during the festival.

In addition to the prize money, the winner receives an award designed by artist Astrid Jaekel, their entire essay is published on the festival website and a lengthy excerpt appears in The Herald.

See for full details.

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For media information: Matthew Shelley at [email protected] or 07786 704299.

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