Winner and runner-up for university in Ian Bell ‘New Writing’ awards

Jamie takes top prize for his investigation into football and concussion

Date posted

11 February 2020


Edinburgh Napier journalism students have taken the winner and runner-up places in the third year of the Ian Bell 'New Writing' Awards for unpublished writers in Scotland aged 30 or under.

The competition, in memory of the award-winning journalist and author Ian Bell, who died in December 2015, was set up by his family and the Edinburgh branch of the National Union of Journalists.

The judges this year – Ian’s son Sean Bell, a writer and journalist on the Scottish-based news website CommonSpace, Libby Brooks, The Guardian’s Scotland correspondent, and Rob Edwards, chair and production manager of the investigative co-operative The Ferret – made their choice from a large batch of lively and committed pieces on social issues.

Head and shoulders of journalism student Jamie Braidwood

They awarded first prize to Jamie Braidwood, 22, a fourth year journalism student at Edinburgh Napier, for his investigation, ‘Why isn’t football taking concussion more seriously?’

Jamie said: “I am delighted to have won the Ian Bell Award. My piece was part of a wider series of articles investigating concussion in Scottish sport and was produced for my fourth-year major journalism project at university. I would also like to thank my supervisor Allan Boughey for his help and support.”

Joint runners-up were Brendan Duggan, 22, a third year at Edinburgh Napier, for his interesting angle on the Israel/Palestine conflict, ‘The Mental Health of Palestine’, and Emma Simper, 22, studying at Stirling university, for her in-depth examination of the importance of touch.

Head and shoulders of journalism student Brendan Duggan

“I was happy and surprised to hear that I had been picked,” said Brendan. “Ian Bell had an amazing political and personal voice and to be attached to his name is a great privilege.”

The winning entries will be published in the Scottish-based online magazine Bella Caledonia.


The awards will be presented by Mandy Bell and the judges at the Aye Write literary festival, on Saturday 14 March at the Mitchell Library, Glasgow, following a talk by Tom Roberts, author of The Making of Murdoch: Power, Politics and the Man Who Owns the Media.

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