Thurso writer celebrates prestigious award
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Hazel Knox, a children’s occupational therapist from Thurso, was one of 11 new writers given a £2000 cash prize by the Scottish Book Trust (SBT) to "help boost her career".
Hazel, who now lives in Edinburgh, has been writing picture books and middle grade books for children for six years and has a passion for humour – shamelessly harvesting material from her two children.
The SBT award, which includes mentoring from writers and industry professionals, took her by surprise she admits. “I missed the call from Scottish Book Trust and after I spoke to them I went back and listened to their message six times to convince myself it definitely happened," she said.
“I’m excited they see potential in my writing and very grateful for the opportunity. I plan to drink in every moment of support and advice in the year ahead.”
Hazel was shortlisted in the 2020 Chicken House Open Coop and given an honourable mention in a 2020 Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators slush pile challenge looking for funny middle grade books. She is a regular contributor to Made (Mums and Dads Edinburgh) magazine and has a special interest in health literacy.
Her day job as an occupational therapist gave her lots of practice in using humour to engage children and seeing the world and its challenges from their perspective. Hazel's award was in the children’s and young adult category and her next book, set in Dunnet, is aimed at 8-10 year olds.
"It tells the story of BB whose ridiculous parents have uprooted her from a blissful life in Edinburgh to start an alpaca farm in rural Dunnet. As if the move isn't bad enough alpacas start going missing and BB is forced to turn detective."
Marc Lambert, CEO of Scottish Book Trust, said: "In uncertain times, it is more important than ever to celebrate and discover new writers in Scotland. Working within Covid restrictions, Scottish Book Trust will support the awardees through online training, workshops and mentoring.
"As always, the standard of the applications were very high and we look forward to future publications from this group."
With funding from Creative Scotland, the Trust selected recipients of its New Writers Awards from authors and poets who had not yet published a full-length book or collection.
The judging panel included Scots makar Jackie Kay and authors Tendai Huchu, Janice Galloway and Denise Mina.
Follow Hazel on Twitter for updates on her work: @hazel_knox