Garden-themed Green Pencil winners celebrate success

A shortlist of primary pupils from across Edinburgh celebrated making it to the final of the annual Green Pencil Award on Thursday (24 November 2016).

Twenty primary four to seven pupils were picked from more than 1000 entries to the creative writing competition, which was launched in September by children’s author Vivian French, and centred on the theme of Scottish gardens.


.Previous winner Louis Reilly presents the award to this year's winner, Rachael Smyth

Last year's winner, Louis Reilly, presents the award to Rachael.


Overall winner Rachael Smyth, a P4 pupil from Davidson’s Mains Primary School, was awarded for her poem, The Secret Garden, at the ceremony in Central Library on Thursday.

Rachael was praised for her use of imagery and description in the poem, which illustrates a beautiful Scottish garden, and was presented with a trophy by last year’s winner, P6 Hermitage Park Primary pupil, Louis Reilly.

Councillor Richard Lewis, Culture and Sport Convener, said: “Each year I relish the opportunity to read many of the inventive and thought-provoking pieces from such young minds.

“This year’s Scottish gardens theme has resulted in a great mixture of colourful prose and poetry from all ages, making it quite a challenge to agree on finalists. However Rachael's entry in particular showed a maturity and sophistication well beyond her years.”

Also commended for their entries were (P4-5): Bethany Woodburn, Cargilfield School for My Brilliant Garden; Samuel Joester, Wardie Primary for The House of Beauty (P6-7): Rose Kinsler, Sciennes Primary for Scotland’s Gardens in Autumn; Martha Maxwell, St. Margaret’s RC Primary for Princes Street Gardens.

They were chosen by a judging panel including representatives from Edinburgh City of Literature, Scottish Book Trust, Edinburgh International Book Festival, Scottish Poetry Library and the Council’s Schools and Lifelong Learning, Communities and Families and Libraries services.

The award, which was launched in 2007, is run by Edinburgh City Libraries and Eco-Schools in Edinburgh and seeks to promote literacy and creative writing, demonstrate care and understanding of environmental issues and strengthen partnership working between libraries, schools and other partners.  

Prizes were donated by Scottish Book Trust, Scottish Poetry Library, Edinburgh International Book Festival, Jupiter Artland , Royal Scottish Zoological Society, Dynamic Earth, Forestry Commission Scotland and Edinburgh’s Camera Obscura.


The Secret Garden

by Rachael Smyth

It had
leaves blowing,
trees dancing,
in the wind,
neat hedges,
marble stairs,
equal gardens,
neat slabs,
birds whistling,
music coming
from radio,
blowing flowers,
insects crawling,
stall of berries,
the breeze
blowing in
my face,
Tall hedges,
I didn’t
keep it a
secret but
can you?


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