YOUNGSTERS from FK postcodes have the opportunity to enter an exciting new contest.

Edinburgh’s Hogmanay has launched a writing competition calling for aspiring young writers to create their own short story inspired by Edinburgh, the world’s first UNESCO City of Literature.

Three will be selected to appear alongside a new work by Val McDermid in Message from the Skies.

Launching at dusk on New Year’s Day 2018, Message from the Skies runs until Burns Night on January 25. 

Inspired by a line from Robert Burns’ poem Sketch New Year’s Day. To Mrs Dunlop (1790), Edinburgh’s Hogmanay and the Edinburgh International Book Festival have commissioned Val McDermid to write a short story, New Year’s Resurrection, which will be told in a series of chapters through projections onto buildings and landmarks around Edinburgh.

Val McDermid will collaborate with director and dramaturg Philip Howard of emergent theatre company Pearlfisher, Edinburgh based architectural projection mapping specialists Double Take Projections, and three of Scotland’s finest composers and sound designers; Michael John McCarthy, Pippa Murphy and RJ McConnell to bring the story to life.   

The project creates a magical new walking tour to lead residents and visitors through Edinburgh’s iconic streets, which have inspired some of the world’s finest authors over the centuries - from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Robert Louis Stevenson to J K Rowling and Muriel Spark.

From January 2, for one hour, ahead of the main presentation of New Year’s Resurrection a new short story by a local young writer will be projected onto a number of the buildings.

Each young writer’s work will be featured for one week of between January 2 and 25 on show to thousands of visitors and residents. 

New Year’s Day marks the beginning of the Year of Young People 2018. 

Edinburgh’s Hogmanay’s young writing competition for Edinburgh, the Lothians, Fife and Falkirk will be adjudicated by Ali Bowden, Director, Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust and Janet Smyth, Children & Education Programme Director, Edinburgh International Book Festival.

The competition is open now to pupils of primary and secondary schools, school leavers under 18 and pupils of special schools in the EH, FK or KY postcodes and will run until the November 15.

Stories can be submitted via and also by post.

In a short film to encourage and inspire young people to enter the competition, Val McDermid said: “A good story is like a three-legged stool. It depends on character, it depends on setting and it depends on the plot.

“You’ve got these three elements, keep them in balance and it won’t fall over."

She added: “If you’re stuck for what to write get off your bum, get out the door and get writing.”

Message from the Skies will illuminate the dark January evenings and transform buildings and landmarks with storytelling, as each becomes a chapter in the tale, allowing the experience to be enjoyed as a whole story in one evening or over a period of time, like any good book.

The project will be accompanied by an app filled with additional content about the story and buildings, and will translate Val’s story into seven languages – French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Polish and Spanish, making the project equally accessible to visitors to Edinburgh.

The app will also read the text in English to partially sighted audiences.

Message from the Skies is commissioned and presented by Edinburgh’s Hogmanay and the Edinburgh International Book Festival, produced by Underbelly and Pearlfisher, in partnership with Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust and is developed with support from Creative Scotland through the Scottish Government’s Edinburgh Festivals Expo Fund.