Writing Competition for Secondary School Pupils in Scotland

In 2020, writer Val McDermid and geographer Jo Sharp edited a book called Imagine a Country, which contained nearly 100 ideas for Scotland's future from people across the country, and challenged readers to start imagining their future.

RSGS asked secondary school pupils to take up this challenge and write down their own ideas about what they think needs to be changed. We were delighted to receive over 100 essays and stories, and we will announce the winners in the autumn.

Have a look at this selection of the essays from the book.

Competition Rules

  1. We welcome entries from secondary school pupils across Scotland. There are two categories: S1-S3 and S4-S6. Only one entry per person will be considered.
  2. Entries can be in the form of essays or stories. They can be factual (for example, based on understandings of climate change patterns or changing demographics) or can be works of fiction, or can be a combination of both.
  3. Entries should respond to the challenge to imagine a better country. The change that you write about can be very small, specific or local, or could seek to change the whole country. We have provided a selection of essays from the original book to each school so you can see the sorts of things others have imagined, but please do not be constrained by what they have written. Be as imaginative as you like!
  4. Entries must not be longer than 500 words, and should be submitted through the official entry form. The deadline is 4pm on Friday 24th June 2022.
  5. Entries will be judged by a panel consisting of representatives from RSGS and the Edinburgh International Book Festival, and Val McDermid and Jo Sharp. We will contact writers of the winning entries by late July, through the contact details that you provide. If you have not heard from us by early August, then unfortunately your entry has not been chosen.
  6. Winning entries will be published in the RSGS magazine The Geographer and/or on the RSGS website.
  7. We will invite the overall winner to the launch of the second edition of Imagine a Country at the Edinburgh International Book Festival in August 2022. Approved transport costs from and returning to a location in Scotland, and up to two nights’ accommodation, for the winner and a guardian will be covered.