The Jessie Kesson Fellowship

This award was established in 2009 by Moniack Mhor to honour Jessie Kesson’s inspirational life and work. The successful candidate receives  time and space to develop their work, a weekly stipend and opportunities to expand their practice.


Moniack Mhor Writers’ Centre is inviting established writers to apply for the Jessie Kesson Fellowship in 2021. This award was established in 2009 by Moniack Mhor to honour Jessie Kesson’s inspirational life and work.

The successful candidate will receive time and space to develop their work, as well as opportunities to expand their practice. This includes a stipend of £350 per week, plus accommodation. The successful applicant will:

  • Live on-site in the cottage at Moniack Mhor from Sunday 14th March to Sunday 4th April, 2021.
  • Have the opportunity to deliver three or four creative writing workshops based on or inspired by Jessie Kesson’s life and work in local schools, libraries, or community centres. (NB these may be moved to a digital platform depending on Covid-19 restrictions).
  • Take a role in hosting a public evening event in the form of a reading or lecture. (NB this may be moved to a digital platform depending on Covid-19 restrictions).
  • Have the option to contribute one piece of work to Moniack Mhor at the end of the residency.

The final terms of the Fellowship will be agreed by the successful candidate and Moniack Mhor.

The fellowship is open to established writers working in fiction, poetry, non-fiction or playwriting. To be eligible for the fellowship, applicants must have had at least one major piece of work published by a UK publishing house (for example, one novel, one short-story collection, one poetry pamphlet or had one professional production of their work staged). It is also desirable that applicants have experience of delivering workshops, or working with children and young people and/or community groups. The Fellowship is open to UK-based writers. Travel costs within the UK will be covered by the Fellowship.

Please apply by sending one document (preferably in Microsoft Word format):

  • A CV which includes previous experience of work with young people and/or community groups
  • A covering letter demonstrating your qualifications for the fellowship and how it would benefit you
  • A sample of your work (maximum 2,000 words, or 6 poems, doubled-spaced and single-sided)

The deadline for application is 5pm on Wednesday 16th December, 2020.

Applications should be sent by email to: with the subject line Jessie Kesson Fellowship or by post to Moniack Mhor Creative Writing Centre, Teavarran, Kiltarlity, IV4 7HT.

Interviews will be held in mid-January 2021 by Zoom. Please note, due to potential Covid-19 restrictions in 2021, the details of the residency may have to be altered slightly.

For any enquiries relating to the fellowship please contact Angela Cran, Centre Manager –  or telephone 01463 741 675.

The 2020 Jessie Kesson Fellow 

The 2020 Jessie Kesson Fellowship was awarded to Ken Cockburn, a poet, translator, editor and writing tutor based in Edinburgh. After several years at the Scottish Poetry Library in Edinburgh, since 2004 he has freelanced, working in schools, colleges, care and community settings, and collaborating with visual artists on book, exhibition and public art projects. His most recent collection is Floating the Woods(Luath, 2018). He also runs Edinburgh Poetry Tours, guided walks with readings of poems in the city’s Old Town.

Shortlisted for the Jessie Kesson Fellowship 2020

Cath Drake, an Australian who lives in London, has been published in anthologies and literary magazines in UK, Australia and US, and performs her work widely. She has been short-listed for the Venture Poetry Prize and the Manchester Poetry Prize, and was second in the 2017 Resurgence Poetry School eco-poetry prize (now called Ginkgo) and highly commended in 2019. Sleeping with Rivers won a Mslexia/Seren poetry pamphlet prize and was a Poetry Book Society choice. The Shaking City, her first full collection, is out in 2020 with Seren Books. Her work has included environmental writing, award-winning journalism and teaching mindfulness.

Shortlisted for the Jessie Kesson Fellowship 2020

Judith Ross Napier was brought up in Easter Ross. She studied English Literature at Aberdeen University before returning north to work as a news reporter, covering many land and crofting issues.  In 2018 she completed her first book, The Assynt Crofter, a biography of renowned crofter Allan MacRae who led to victory Scotland’s first land buy-out. It was published by Acair and subsequently shortlisted for the 2018 Highland Book Prize.  Now based in Aberdeenshire working for the National Trust for Scotland, she is currently researching Highland estate factors, and wonders if there might be a book to be written about that.

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