STUDENTS at Priestley College were praised for their maturity after giving award-winning author Kevin MacNeil hope for the future.

The acclaimed writer, whose debut The Stornoway Way was a critical and commercial success, spent a week with 15 Priestley students at Scotland’s creative writing centre Moniack Mhor.

He said: “I have never seen such a group of students of 16, 17 and 18 years conduct themselves with such maturity; each and every one of them gives me hope for the future,” he said.

“They displayed all the qualities one would consider desirable in a writer: intelligence, inclusiveness, wit, creativity, curiosity and a shining, humane empathy.”

Former Birchwood High pupil Charlotte Heyes, who studies English Literature, Law, Psychology and Sociology, said her poetry writing skills had improved during her time at the creative writing centre.

She said: “Before I wasn’t confident writing poetry, but now I can write whenever I feel like I want to because I have a structure to fall back on.”