What's Your Story?

Apply to join the What’s Your Story? Development Programme!
(Gàidhlig – translation coming soon.)

Are you 14-17 years old, living in Scotland, and care about creative writing and illustration?

Do you want to meet other teens interested in creative writing and illustration?

Do you want to improve your own creative skills?

Do you want to help create events and resources for other teens?

Do you want to show Scotland that teenagers make brilliant creative work?

If this sounds like you, read on to find out more about our What’s Your Story? Development Programme and how to apply to join us this year! It’s free to apply and to take part. All expenses are paid for any teen taking part, wherever you travel from and whatever access support you need.

Our programme is all about encouraging, supporting and celebrating teenage creators by helping you to access professional support and opportunities that it is hard to get anywhere else. In our first two years of the Development Programme, our teen writers and illustrators have…

  • Welcomed over 300 other teenagers to StoryCon 2016 & 2017 – Scotland’s first creative writing & illustration conferences designed for teens, by teens.
  • Gained hands-on experience of how to organize and host literary festivals as volunteers at Aye Write! in Glasgow.
  • Inspired and helped to design the What’s Your Story? Online Magazine, which has already showcased dozens of teen writers and illustrators from around Scotland and provided professional feedback to many more.
  • Been commissioned by Edinburgh International Book Festival to interview authors and illustrators on camera to create learning resources for other young people around the world to enjoy.
  • Been mentored by professional poets, novelists, screenwriters, illustrators and graphic novelists, not just about how to create great work, but about what it’s like making a living as a professional creator in Scotland today.
  • Traveled all over Scotland to discover what resources really exist for teenage writers and illustrators.
  • Showcased their work to hundreds of people – and shown them what Scotland’s teens are capable of adding to our literary culture right now, not just in the future.
Our first 10 teen participants celebrate at the creative retreat in Nov 2015.

This year we will be selecting seven teenagers from around Scotland to join the What’s Your Story? Development Programme. Thanks to our friends at The Gaelic Books Council there will be one place especially for a Gaelic language applicant, but no matter what language you work in you are welcome to apply so long as you are aged 14-17 and you live in Scotland. Take a look at our plans for this year and check out what’s on offer.

Explore Scotland’s Literary Scene

Starting with our first gathering at the National Library of Scotland, we will explore the resources, organisations and opportunities for teenage writers and illustrators that exist in Scotland – making sure our new ambassadors for teen writers & illustrators in Scotland are never short of inspiration, assistance and a chance to contribute to our literary culture.

Professional Mentoring

Our teens will be mentored by a professional working in the creative form of your choice. Previous mentors have included a graphic novelist, screenwriters, an illustrator, novelists and poets; this year’s mentors will be chosen specifically for you.

Creative Retreat

For five days in Feburary 2018, the teens, mentors and Scottish Book Trust will travel to beautiful Moniack Mhor in the Highlands to work on creative projects with their mentors, design StoryCon, and explore their creative ideas and potential. We plan for the retreat to take place from Monday 5 – Saturday 10 February 2018.

Plan StoryCon 2018

StoryCon is Scotland’s biggest creative writing and illustration conference for 13-19 year olds. Our teens will decide on the workshops, invite guest speakers, plan the day and help host nearly 200 other teens!

Teen Showcase

To celebrate the hard-work of everyone involved, a showcase of the work our team have created with the help of their mentors will mark the end of the What’s Your Story? Programme in Autumn 2018.


Five of our participants prepare to interview authors at EIBF in Aug 2017.


Sound good? If you can commit to working hard on your own creative development, and you care about improving things for other teenage writers & illustrators in Scotland, we hope you will apply to join us! It’s free to apply and take part, with all of your costs covered by us.

Read our FAQs to find out what the application process is like, and when you are ready click below to apply.

Deadline for applications was 12noon on Monday 16th October.


Applications are now closed.


About What’s Your Story:

What’s Your Story? was created by Scottish Book Trust as part of Time to Shine in 2015. It is a Scotland-wide programme of support for teenage writers & illustrators – led by teens, for teens.

What’s Your Story? gives free support to all 13–19-year-old writers and illustrators in Scotland. We champion, showcase and encourage teenage creative efforts in literature, whatever form these efforts take. What’s Your Story? is run by Scottish Book Trust, and has been created with the help and advice of teen writers and illustrators.

In our third year (2017-2018) we are kindly funded by Big Lottery’s Young Start Fund and the generosity of several trusts and foundations.

For more information about What’s Your Story?’s partners and supporters, past and present, visit our Friends of What’s Your Story? page.