Katharine Stewart Award

Now Closed

In recognition of the life and work of Katharine Stewart, who lived just a few miles from Moniack Mhor in Abriachan, we are offering an Award in 2020 to help support an unpublished writer of non-fiction. The Award seeks to find and support new voices from the Highlands and Islands. This year, we’d particularly like to encourage applications from writers who take inspiration from, or feature the theme of, working in sympathy with the land, environment and culture. However, writing on any topic or on any theme will be considered eligible.

The Katharine Stewart Award will consist of retreat time at Moniack Mhor (one week in mid-March 2020) and two sessions with a writing mentor (one before and one after the retreat).


  • Applicants should have had no major work published in print or digitally
  • Applicants can be writers of any genre of non-fiction.
  • Submissions in English, Scots and Gaelic are eligible.
  • Applicants must be registered as resident in the Highland and Islands.

For the purpose of the Katharine Stewart Award the “Highlands and Islands” are defined as the 2019 Local Authority areas Argyll & Bute, Highland, Orkney Islands, Shetland Islands, Western Isles and Moray.



Please send one file, formatted as a word document which includes:

  • A covering letter, one side of A4 only, summarising what you are writing about and what benefit you believe this award will bring you
  • Your CV (a maximum of 3 sides of A4, outlining your education, work experience and interests)
  • A 2000 words sample of your work for prose, or 6 pages of poetry


Applications should be sent to awards@moniackmhor.org.uk by 5pm on Monday 2nd December 2019. Please put Katharine Stewart Award in the subject line.

To download the Katharine Stewart Award 2020 information sheet, please click here : Katharine Stewart Award 2020 – Information Sheet

Katharine Stewart’s A Croft in the Hills has become an iconic book about life in the Highlands. Her honest, unfussy account of crofting life in the 1960s was the first in a series of books which tell of the landscape, history and community close to Moniack Mhor. As well as her writing success, Katharine Stewart established a folk museum, which documented and educated many on Highland culture for decades.

The Award is made possible by a donor with connections to the Highlands and by an in-kind contribution from Moniack Mhor.


The winner of the Katharine Stewart Award in 2020 is Kirsteen Bell.

Kirsteen a writer, poet and crofter who lives with her family by Loch Eil in Lochaber, graduated with a degree in Literature from the University of the Highlands & Islands in 2019 and now contributes regularly to the Lochaber Times.

‘To say I’m over the moon is probably an understatement! Having the time and space to write is, I think, something that most new writers hope for, especially when you have the daily routine of a young family. To be given advice on my work along with the retreat, from a writer I’ve long admired, is just incredible.’

Kirsteen will attend a week’s writing retreat at Moniack Mhor as well as receiving mentoring from Mark Cocker. Her lifestyle brings her into close contact with the landscape, and it is that relationship that she tries to thread through her writing, binding together language and the living world. This Award has been made possible by a donor with connections to the Highlands and by an in-kind contribution from Moniack Mhor.



The winner of the Katharine Stewart Award in 2018 was Shona Macpherson.

Shona is a life coach based in Inverness. Her flavour of life coaching is helping people find freedom from self limiting beliefs, behaviours and life scripts.

Shona embodies her passion for finding freedom through her outdoor adventures.

This year she plans to walk the Cape Wrath Trail solo in 17 days; with a view to walking the whole of the Pacific Crest Trail, United States, solo in 2019.

She regularly writes about life coaching topics and adventures, from a biographical perspective, in her blog (www.shonafitness.co.uk).

She is keen to improve her writing craft in order to better tell and inspire others about the healing and wonder of living an outdoor life.



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