Short story wins annual Rhoda Bulter dialect award

The winner of this year’s Rhoda Bulter dialect award has been announced as Highlands resident Lauraine Peterson.

As in previous years the competition, named after one of Shetland’s most important 20th century writers, was awarded to a short story in dialect.

The late Rhoda Bulter.
The late Rhoda Bulter.

For the 2016 instalment entrants were asked to write a short story titled Boannie Blue, which was also the title of one of Mrs Bulter’s poems.

Mrs Bulter was most well known for her dialect poetry, though she was also an acclaimed story teller and prose writer She also created the long-running Laeves fae Beenie’s Diary which appeared every month in the Shetland Life magazine.

The competition is judged by the Bulter family who present the prize in memory of their mother.

Speaking on behalf of his siblings, John Bulter said: “We are delighted with the response to this year’s competition and commend the authors for their creativity and storytelling.

“The quality of the entries made judging a real joy. The styles and topics of ‘boannie blue’ were so varied: fairy stories and love stories; whales, boats, survival, death, faith and new life. We were taken on terrific journeys.”

He added: “The dialect content was especially interesting and suggested stories had been submitted from all over Shetland.

“As previously, we each judged entries anonymously, then pooled our conclusions. We are all extremely pleased about the winning story, which we felt was well constructed and inspired wide ranging emotions.

“Huge congratulations to the winning author and our sincere thanks to all contributors.”


Lauraine Peterson, who now lives in Spinningdale, was thrilled to learn that her story had won.

She said: “I was really gobsmacked when I got the news. Something aboot da ‘boannie blue’ just sparked my imagination. I have always admired Rhoda’s writing. She could paint pictures with her words.”

The award, presented annually, is a serpentine and silver trophy made by Rosalyn Thompson. The competition has a different theme every year and is administered by dialect promotion group, Shetland ForWirds.

Peterson’s story will be published in the Yule edition of The New Shetlander.


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