Melvin sails into writing success

Life and Times of Melvin Barnes ... the latest recruit for KADS
Life and Times of Melvin Barnes ... the latest recruit for KADS

A Kirkcaldy man has put pen to paper to win a national writing competition run by the Scottish Book Trust.

Melvin Barnes submitted a short story about his memories of being in the merchant navy aboard the Holmside Motor Vessel and it has been published in a new book.

Melvin Barnes with his book

Melvin Barnes with his book

Melvin, who has previously entered the writing contest, beat off competition from over 300 other entries to win a place in a book called “Treasures”.

His piece, called “Her Yard No is 867”, features alongside work from 40 other winners and celebrity contributors such as John and Carole E. Barrowman, Denise Mina and Mairi Hedderwick.

Melvin said: “I love to write and am a big fan of the Scottish Book Trust which encourages literacy. This is the third time I have entered one of their writing competitions.

‘‘When I was 17 I was in the merchant navy and the memories I have of that time are among the happiest I have ever had. The story is about the adventures I had aboard the Holmside - an amazing ship.”

The competition was held by the Trust, the leading agency for the promotion of literature, reading and writing in Scotland, and it encouraged members of the public to write, read and share stories about an object special to them.

Contributions arrived in a variety of forms including poems, diary entries and stories, and these previously untold accounts of unexpected objects included pieces about a VHS tape, a rucksack and a chip of concrete.

To celebrate the second year of Book Week Scotland (November 25 – December 1 2013) more than 150,000 free copies of “Treasures” will be gifted to people throughout the country.

The books will be distributed in local bookshops, public libraries, National Trust and Historic Scotland properties and train stations. All the entries are also available to read at

Philippa Cochrane, head of reader development, said: “The winning stories from the “Treasures” campaign give a fascinating and heart-warming insight into the valued objects that have shaped people’s lives.

‘‘We are delighted to be able to publish them so that they may be enjoyed by others and, most importantly, may never be forgotten.”