Ian Rankin presents teen Edinburgh writer with Pushkin Prize

Ian Rankin presents Andrew Pettigrew with his certificate. Picture: Sandy Young
Ian Rankin presents Andrew Pettigrew with his certificate. Picture: Sandy Young
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A TEENAGER has been presented with a prestigious writing award by Rebus author Ian Rankin.

Andrew Pettigrew, a student at the city’s Royal Blind School, is one of ten students in Scotland to win a Pushkin Prize for creative writing.

As part of his award, the 14-year-old will travel to the Highlands for a week of workshops at the end of the month.

It comes after Andrew was also named the winner of the Seeing Ear Creative Writing Competition, bagging more than £800 worth of assistive technology software.

The writer was presented with his awards by the popular crime writer at the school yesterday. Speaking at the presentation, Mr Rankin said he was “very impressed” with Andrew’s winning poem.

He said: “All human beings have imagination and creativity, especially when you’re young, you have endless imagination and endless creativity.

“At some point the adult world usually says you’ve got to grow up and stop doing that, you’ve got to put away your imaginary friends and stop creating these imaginary worlds in your head and on paper.

“Writers say no thanks, I’m going to be a kid the rest of my life, I’m going to keep those imaginary friends and I’m going to keep creating these other worlds, these other universes where I can control it and it’s great fun as well as being therapeutic.

He added: “I will congratulate you again, this is a wonderful, two prizes you’ve won, I’m so thrilled for you pal.”

Andrew entered three pieces for the Pushkin Prizes competition, a poem about his hero, Louis Braille, an article about death and a short fantasy fiction story.

Andrew became interested in reading after he began to lose his vision as a young child. He said: “I wasn’t interesting in reading until I lost my sight. Then I used action figures to tell stories and from there I started writing them in Braille. I was so happy when I found out I won the awards I did a bit of a victory dance. It was really excited to meet Ian Rankin.”

Head teacher Elaine Brackenridge, said she was “extremely proud” of Andrew. She said: “Andrew is a very talented and hard-working student. It is fantastic that his outstanding ability has been recognised by both Seeing Ear and the Pushkin Prizes. I am delighted that his writing skills have been recognised.”

Andrew has previously had three pieces of writing published by Seeing Ear and is a frequent contributor to Royal Blind’s iSite magazine.

His recent work includes a poem about Donald Trump, called The Trump, which he emailed to former First Minister for Scotland, Alex Salmond.