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Moray student wins first University of the Highlands Peter May fiction prize


By Calum MacLeod

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Gary Groves, Winner 2021 Peter May Fiction Prize, UHIPhotographed at Moray College UHI, December 2021
Gary Groves, Winner 2021 Peter May Fiction Prize, UHIPhotographed at Moray College UHI, December 2021

A short story of three researchers trapped in a sea of insects is the winner of the first University of the Highlands and Islands Peter May fiction prize.

Gary Groves (43) from Elgin wrote Monads, which was selected from a shortlist of five short stories to win the £1000 prize donated by international bestselling crime writer, television screenwriter and novelist Peter May.

The prize was launched by the Glasgow born author as part of the university's 10th anniversary celebrations and will provide a decade of student prizes for fiction writing.

Mr May said: "I wasn't quite sure what to expect and have been delighted with the quality of the shortlisted submissions. I want to praise all those who entered and encourage everyone to keep writing.

"Gary's work stood out. He draws us into the frightening, claustrophobic world of the research pod in this strange and compelling story. He vividly delivers a metaphor of acceptance and surrender to age, with its accompanying deterioration of the mind. I look forward to reading what comes next."

Crime author Peter May on visit and book signing at Inverness Town House .Picture: Gary Anthony. Image No.024457.
Crime author Peter May on visit and book signing at Inverness Town House .Picture: Gary Anthony. Image No.024457.

Winning writer Gary, a student on the BA (Hons) creative writing in the Highlands and Islands course, said: "Receiving this prize has been a major confidence boost and it's been a real journey to get to this point. I have so much gratitude for the people who make the course what it is, both lecturers and students, and Peter who has done an amazing thing in founding this new prize to support the development of creative writing at the University of the Highlands and Islands.

"When I started the course in 2018, I didn't know what to expect. I was a mature student returning to studying and was worried that I would be the odd one out in the class. Although I had written a number of short stories in the past, I had never actually shown them to anyone and was hesitant to let other people read what I had written. I'm in my third year now and I am already thinking about continuing to postgraduate studies."

The annual competition, coordinated by the university's development and alumni team, is open to all further and higher education students at the university and 2022 graduates. Submissions are welcomed in Gaelic, Scots or English by October 14, 2022.

For more details on the entry process visit www.uhi.ac.uk/en/development/scholarshipsandprizes/the-peter-may-fiction-prize/


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