Congratulations to our 2020 Prize Winners
Wigtown Prize | Judge: Roseanne Watt
Wigtown Scottish Gaelic Prize | Judge: Anna C Frater
Wigtown Scots Prize | Judge: George T Watt
Alastair Reid Pamphlet Prize | Judge: Roseanne Watt
Dumfries & Galloway Fresh Voice Award | Wigtown Festival Company Board of Trustees Panel
Wigtown Prize Winner | Anna Woodford, Portrait of My Grandparents as Souvenirs 
Wigtown Prize Runner-up | Jane Frank,  Green Bathroom
Wigtown Scottish Gaelic Prize Winner | Niall O'Gallagher, Penelope
Wigtown Scottish Gaelic Prize Runner-up | Morag Ann MacNeil, Ann an Oisean Cùbhraidh Gàrraidh 
Wigtown Scots Prize Winner | Robert Duncan,  A Drystane Dyke
Wigtown Scots Prize Runner-up | William Hershaw, Ainster Herbour, Hogmany
Alastair Reid Pamphlet Prize Winner | Claire Cox, A Book of Days

Dumfries & Galloway Fresh Voice Award Winner Peter Roberts, Night Owling Collection





Wigtown Prize Winner | Anna Woodford, Portrait of My Grandparents as Souvenirs 


Granddad is holding a lucky Polish penny.

Granny has a pig’s head on a breadboard.

Granddad is praying though his Torah is

upside down. Granny is playing the fiddle.

Granddad’s insides have been hollowed out

of wood and he has a slot in his back.

Granny is squishy plasticine. Behind this beard,

Granddad is hiding. Behind this candle, Granny

burns for their son who is nowhere to be seen

in these tourist traps around the old ghetto –

he escaped to Nottingham and worked at Raleigh.

Now he is a silver bicycle on my charm bracelet

or a tiny house, for the terrace

he named Lwów after the home he lost.


‘Zydki’ or ‘Lucky Jew’ figures are sold throughout Poland




Wigtown Prize Runner-up | Jane Frank,  Green Bathroom


I am keeping you company in the vintage bathroom

of mint green enamel. It is the moments before my

childhood ended – I know because your heart is loud


and the black and viridescent tiles in the art deco

design are pristine. I have a photographic memory

for that geometric pattern: a screensaver from a winter


afternoon long, long ago. The sun never shone through

that window on the south side of the house, but I

imagine the red setter dog sitting on next door’s


car tracks below near the front gate, only metres away.

It is almost dark so there is no birdsong but I can hear

running water – it would be the hose on its stand in


the begonia bed framed by pink-blue pride of India,

the colour of musk. There is also a sound of dripping.

It is the high basin tap with the big H and C on left and


right. There is a worn spot on the enamel where the

water constantly drips and the bitter smell of Ipana

toothpaste with its hard crust around the top of the


tube, its tight-coiled used end. Your head is bald and

florid, your face turned away, eyes open. Your glasses

are not on but you are wearing a dark striped dressing


gown with a cord tie, blue flannel pyjamas. Your long

toes are hidden by brown half slippers. Down the hall

there is a basket on the table with soup and rolls, a


coffee pudding and in the food safe there is a tin with

custard cream biscuits. A glossy black telephone sits

on a polished wood table. Soon it will ring. I have still


not seen a dead body. I am also walking home from

tennis practice. Everything is calm and still, only faint

laughter from the kitchen and a cold sky of stars opening.




Wigtown Scottish Gaelic Prize Winner | Niall O'Gallagher, Penelope


Dh’fhighinn an sin air an là a’ bheairt mhór, ach sgaoilinn as t-oidhche i

                                    ODUSSEIA XIX


Shuidh mi fad trì bliadhna aig a’ chuibhl’

a’ figheadh anairt san cuirteadh an rìgh;

den chlòimh bu treas a rinn mi i, bu mhìn

a shìn mi air a’ bheairt i lem làimh luim.

Rinn mi gach snàithlean fhuasgladh agus thuit

gu làr gach oidhche fuigheal m’ obrach fhìn

don tug mi dìcheal agus gràdh bu bhinn’

na ’n gràdh ighne thug mi do bhuill a’ chuirp.


Chan ann don fhear a bhrist mo chridhe

no dha athair airson na ciste

a rinn mi gach lìn a chur trom làimh,


gach ribeag mar dhual leannain…

Na spìonaibh bhuam toradh m’ ealain,

mo mhire gheal, mo thasgaidh, peacadh gràidh!




Wigtown Scottish Gaelic Prize Runner-up | Morag Ann MacNeil, Ann an Oisean Cùbhraidh Gàrraidh 


Ann an oisean cùbhraidh gàrraidh

Fo dhubhar craoibh am blàths na grèin,

Fuaim an t-samhraidh na mo chluasan

Shuidh mi tacan beag leam fhèin.

Tamall beag am measg nam blàthan

A’ sireadh furtachd agus sìth,

Measg tostachd mhilis mhaisich nàdair

’S am pailteas àilleachd anns gach nì.


Tromadas a’ trasgradh m’ inntinn

Èislean gràineil is mì-chinnt,

Mar dhriùchd a theàrn orm às na speuran

Tha cianalas gam fhàgail tinn.

Smuaintean bruailleanach gun tròcair

Gam chuartachadh ’s gam chur fo bhinn,

M’ aigne riaslach air a buaireadh

Le dubh-leannachd nan iomadh linn.


Ach chan eil anam a tha cràidhteach

Air fad ’s air leud na cruinne-cè,

A thàrmaich tràth an oisean gàrraidh

’S a chanadh nach do rinn e feum.

Sìth-thàmh socair tha gu dlùth rium

’S gun fuaim ach còisir bhàrr nan geug,

Gun for aca mun tuiream bhrònach

A dh’fhaodadh iad a chur air ghleus.


Bhon chala chiatach seo chan iarrainn

Carachadh a-chaoidh rim bheò,

Is oiteag chaoin a’ toirt fom chomhair

Àile lurach bhlàth nan ròs.

Tìm gu màirnealach a’ gluasad

Deòrachadh ga chur air strì,

Fada cian bho bhuaireas saoghail

An gàrradh seo na sheòlaid ghrinn.




Wigtown Scots Prize Winner | Robert Duncan,  A Drystane Dyke


I’ll bigg a drystane dyke

fae Solway tae the Tweed

and I’ll mak ilka stane

a word o guid Scots leid.


First lay the siccar hert

doun in its bed o yird:

misglimmed churls and chads,

grummel and grush and grool

gaithert fae garths and lanes,

blaes fae forhooit bings,

stanners fae Orkney strands.


Syne rickle it tae its fou heicht

tentily, tyre by tyre;

clinkers, lecks and haithens,

freestane, kingle, scurdie,

risers, parpens, throu-bands,

uncloured, undressed, unpunished,

nae lime or slime or mortar,

hauden fair and hainit

by their ain wecht

and their sib rauch faces.

Gin there’s an eemis stane,

pace and pace again

until it stands as sted

as ony ither.


A drystane dyke’s no proud.

A drystane dyke’s no prink.

A drystane dyke hauds aa sorts.

Winds o aa airts breathe throu it,

but nane steers it.

Baith sides are equal

and aa Jock Tamson’s bairns

can add their stanes tae it.


I’ll bigg a drystane dyke

fae Solway tae the Tweed

and ilka stane will be

a word o guid Scots leid.




Wigtown Scots Prize Runner-up | William Hershaw, Ainster Herbour, Hogmany


The dolphins kythed tae hansel the New Year,

Heezin grey humps juist efter keek o daw,

Lowpan their length tae kiss the cranreugh air,

Doukan and jinkan outby the herbour waa.


First-fuitters souman the here and nou,

Stravaigan the sea-road for chancie swaws,

Lauchin sea-cheils mang the swey and the pou

O Aul Faither Time’s sleekit unnertaws.


Fushin for whillyhaas, tummelin for scags,

Gaun in a glisk wi their grin hauflin-wyce,

Bring airth-fowk their weird ma gallus ghaist lads -


Sing ower sib tae anthropomorphise.




Alastair Reid Pamphlet Prize | Winner - Claire Cox, A Book of Days


Sixth March: Zeitgeist (First poem from pamphlet)


A sparrow whistles in the break between downpours.

The neighbour’s dog yaps unseen behind our fence


while knives go missing from kitchens and rasp

their blades through strangers’ spines


and the purple mouths of dog-violets gape

in a too-hot, buzzless sky and snarling men


pack together, their sameness unassailable,

Twitter feeds bristling muscle and knuckle


while the overfull water butt spills winter rain

and blackbirds drink from the black plastic guttering


as hands strap explosives to a bus and there’s blood

in the gutter, bright red, bright black, brighter


than the movies, bright as the righteousness

that fills the air and clings like static to my sleeve.




Dumfries & Galloway Fresh Voice Award  | Winner - Peter Roberts, Night Owling Collection


Night Owling (First poem of collection)


…and wake sometime after one, get up to take a leak, return to keep the beat with every toss and turn, the night owl taunting with its high fluting hooting, a bass/alto riff that goes on and on, like Lester Young in Kansas in 1938, saxing the crowd to madness with 72 choruses of The Man I Love, and worry about Moloch’s latest incarnation creeping into my brain along wi-fi waves, the clock going too slow to an ending, too fast for hopes of sleep…


…and long to shout down the ghost howl of the insomniac and leave, hunting like a nighthawk through dark frosted streets to that pool of light in the lonely night, order coffee and corn dogs, share the company of strangers in meaningless talk about the Bears and the Blackhawks, anything so’s to seem alive and not lost…


…and wonder why, last night, I dreamed of Chicago.