A HELENSBURGH writer recent won a top prize at a national conference celebrating the best written words in Scotland.

The Scottish Association of Writers gathering saw Lindsay Drummond take first prize in the young adult fiction category.

Her novel, "Melody of Chains", is about a young mutant struggling for freedom from an opporessive regime.

Judges described her book as, "head and shoulders above other entries".

Another local writer, Eric Thompson, was awarded a commendation in the unpublished general novel category for his book, "Torpedoes Galore".

Both are members of Helensburgh Writers' Workshop, who hailed their success.

Helensburgh Advertiser:

Lindsay said: "I learned so much from the agents and publishers at the conference and winning the young adult competition was fantastic.

"I have been working on this book for a while, but it was only after joining the Helensburgh Writers' Workshop that I thought about entering it into a competition.

"The group's feedback and support have been absolutely invaluable to me."

Eric said his book was inspired by Compton Mackenzie's Whisky Galore and Rockets Galore.

"My story satirises the impact of the Navy’s arrival on a remote West Highland community where it is opposed by anti-nuclear protesters, the kirk, and Scottish Nationalists," he said.

"Readers of the Advertiser will recognise the scenario. The tale is laced with humour, some of it black.

!My submission was thoroughly enjoyed by the adjudicator, but she didn’t like my title, which she thought suggested a Carry On film. So, I’m now searching for new title before pitching it to agents."

He added: "A great benefit of being a member of the Helensburgh Writers' Workshop is that it is a member of the Association of Scottish Writers who run annual national writing competitions with the virtually unique advantage of giving detailed professional critiques on all entries. Without such feedback, it is hard to improve."

The Helensburgh Writers’ Workshop meets on Monday evenings at 7.30pm in the Bridge Parish Church hall. New members are always welcome. For enquiries please contact the club’s chair Joanna Pryce via their public Facebook page.

Joanne told the Advertiser: "As chair of the writers’ workshop I am delighted at Lindsay and Eric’s achievements. The group is very friendly and provides a safe environment to express our passion for writing.

"We have members who write novels, poetry, short stories, song lyrics and more and we will be welcoming new members in September, when we resume after a summer break."