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A few years ago, I got back into the creative writing swing of things by doing some courses at City Lit (a brilliant adult open uni here in London). I did it mostly to motivate myself to actually put pen to paper creatively and am always a sucker for having a professor (or editor, for that matter) tell me I have to make deadlines.

I’ve been a big ‘writer’ since I was a little kid. One of my favourites was a spy thriller involving a terribly elegant woman and man that had the pair running across Europe. I wrote it when I was seven so it may not have been my most advanced tale but I have fond memories of getting out the giant atlas my family had and sitting down with my mother to go through the countries that the pair would logically travel through if I were to make it factually accurate.

Jura Swan: An inspiring isle

However, the past two years, I’ve cut back on this style of writing. It’s not that I don’t miss it but more that good old thing of time getting in the way – there’s just no time anymore!

But, I’m sure that won’t be the same for all of you. Which is why when I came across the new Jura story writing competition called Winning Words I felt the need to find out more about it and pass those details along.

The basic idea is that people can pen short stories of less than 1,000 characters and enter to win an all expenses paid trip to the distillery during the 2014 Jura Whisky Festival. A new topic is announced every two weeks until the end of December and the top six stories out of each set of entries will also be illustrated. The public will get to vote on the story which will win overall.


In order to get more information, I spoke to Gemma Parkinson – the global brand manager for Jura.

Thanks for speaking to me Gemma. First off, why is Jura keen to support story tellers?

Storytelling lies at the heart of Jura’s character, culture and heritage. From the distillery’s own story of being relaunched in the 1960s to some of the island’s more colourful tales of myth and legend, Jura’s has many tales worth telling. Whilst Jura has always been keen to share its own stories we really wanted to hear the many weird and wonderful stories as experienced by Jura drinkers the world over. Winning Words was conceived as a way of recognising and rewarding some of these stories and sharing them with our like-minded community of Jura fans.

What are some of the things the judges will be looking for?

We are looking for stories that capture the imagination. Whether it’s through an exciting, emotional or uplifting story, we are looking for stories that will survive the test of time and live long in the memory.

What is most exciting thing about this project?

While we’re asking for people to send in their stories, we really wanted to give something back. So every week for ten weeks, we’ll be illustrating two winning stories and posting them on our website. Hopefully this will provide our fans with some really engaging and well crafted content to share with their friends.

We’re also working with Art Wednesday who are producing a series of videos which tell the stories of interesting, influential creatives and their work. The first two videos will feature writer Marcel Theroux and musician Nick Mulvey and we hope these will provide people with the inspiration required to enter.

What is your favourite story from the isle of Jura?

Apart from the story of Jura distillery, one of my favourite stories from the island is that of Charles Campbell. Legend has it that in the early 1700s the Campbells of Jura evicted a wise old seer. Bristling with resentment, she prophesied that the last Campbell to leave the island would be one-eyed with his belongings carried in a cart drawn by a lone white horse. In 1938 this old tale came true when Charles Campbell, blind in one eye from the Great War, led his white horse to the old pier for the last time. This legendary tale from the island is the inspiration behind Jura Prophecy, a dram that’s steeped in stories, and every drop has a different tale to tell.