SCOTS crime writer Ian Rankin paid an annual visit to Fife College last Friday to award scholarships to creative students.
One of the world’s leading crime writers, Ian took time out from writing and book tours to present the awards to the three winners, who also received £600 each and a copy of one of Rankin’s books.
Famous for his popular fictional character Rebus, the author visited the college’s Kirkcaldy campus to meet four students; award winners Catriona Ross, Scott Duncan and Joe Hunt – and runner-up Malcolm Ross.
Ian presented the students with their scholarships at a special awards celebration managed by the Adam Smith Foundation which looks after the programme.
The students also had the chance to get to know the writer during a lunch meeting.
Gaynor Jamieson, trust fundraiser for the Adam Smith Foundation, welcomed Ian to the campus alongside Dougi McMillan, the director of Creative Industries.
This year’s scholarship was open to students studying a wide range of courses that include elements of creative writing such as Journalism, TV, Radio, Acting and Performance and Higher English.
To take part, students had to submit a piece of creative writing and their work was read and judged by Ian Rankin himself.
Ian said he was delighted to meet them and told them how much he enjoyed judging this year’s scholarship.
He said: “I always look forward to reading the entries – often there is a dark theme running through the pieces however this year had a more playful and upbeat tone.
“It was also great to see a graphic novel entry this year which is a first for the scholarship. The winning entries were of a high standard, with good storytelling, new viewpoints and surprising plot twists which were a pleasure to read.”
He added: “It was great to meet this year’s award winners, and to also come home to Fife and Kirkcaldy for a short visit. I hope the scholarship inspires this year’s winners on to great things and I wish them the very best for the future.”
As well as being awarded £600 each, the winning students also received a signed copy of one of Ian’s latest books ‘In a House of Lies’.
Gaynor Jamieson said: “Receiving a scholarship from such a well-known author as Ian Rankin means a great deal to the students and is a fantastic achievement which will help them secure future study and employment opportunities as well as providing some extra financial support which is always very welcome.
“Ian has been supporting this scholarship for 15 years and awarded over 50 students in that time. He takes a great interest in the students’ work and gives up his time to review and judge their creative writing which is a very valuable experience for them all.”
It was second time lucky for Journalism student Joe Hunt, 20, from Dunfermline, who was runner-up last year and delighted to be a winner this time.
Joe said: “Having such a high profile author such as Ian read your work and give you such positive feedback is amazing, especially when you enjoy writing and want to make a career out of it like I do. It was great to meet Ian, he made us feel special.”
Scott Duncan, 26, also from Dunfermline, was delighted with the scholarship which he plans to use towards publishing a graphic novel with help from artist friend and fellow student Nick Coad.
He said: “Having Ian Rankin say your work is good is a big compliment which I’ll never forget – long term I hope to go to go on to University and pursue a career in journalism.”
The third winner, Catriona Ross, 49, from Kinghorn, said: “I couldn’t believe I had won and I was delighted to meet Ian and receive the award – it is a fantastic confidence boost.”