Gordon teen wows the judges with her words

Earlston High School student Molly Watson has said winning a creative writing competition has put her one step closer to a career as a writer.

The 15-year-old from Gordon has won the National Galleries of Scotland’s Inspired? Get Writing! competition in the 15-18 age band.

The contest attracted more than 700 entries from as far afield as Korea and the USA. Each had to be inspired by a piece of work in a National Galleries of Scotland collection.

Molly said: “I found the painting that inspired my story in the National Gallery of Scotland in Edinburgh.

“A lot of the entries were from people that lived too far away to see the paintings in a tangible form, but I was fortunate enough to be there and see all the colours and the details and the scales up close. That had a real effect on me.”

She added: “I didn’t have a painting in mind and I was wandering aimlessly down the corridors of the gallery and my mind was very much a blank canvas, until I came to ‘A Daydream’, which made me stop.

“I thought it was a very sad painting. I saw something very poignant in the eyes of the boy and girl, and there was a real contrast – he looked thoughtful, and she looked vacant, and I wanted to reflect that in the story.

“The painting made me think about the transition from childhood to adulthood, and the sadness of losing our daydreams as we grow up, and I really wanted to write about that – it struck a chord with me.”

Molly said: “It was a huge surprise when I found out I’d won. I’d read entries from previous years – my friend was runner-up last year with a beautiful poem – and they were of such a high standard that I didn’t think I had a chance.

“I’ve wanted to be a writer since I learned to read, so winning a competition like this means a huge amount to me. It makes becoming a professional writer one day seem slightly more in reach.”

Molly is in the school’s creative writing club, led by English teacher Laura McDougal.

She said: “Molly is an extremely talented girl and I hope she pursues this as a career, and I’m sure her success will inspire others in the club.”

As part of the prize, Molly and the club will enjoy a private tour of the National Gallery and a creative writing workshop with poet Liz Niven.