Grief, male sexuality and the plight of pets in Covid-stricken Wuhan are some of the subjects of the 12 winning entries in the Creative Future Writers’ Award, chosen by judges including author Kerry Hudson and poet Anthony Anaxagorou.
Creative Future, a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to supporting and nurturing under-represented artists, announced the winners of its seventh annual Writers' Award on Tuesday (28th July). Inspired by the theme of "Tomorrow", the winning entries span two categories–prose and poetry–with six high-quality submissions recognised in each. The most outstanding work in each category was awarded Platinum, while the 10 other works were awarded Gold, Silver, Bronze, Highly Commended and Commended.
Michele Powponne received the prose category's Platinum award for Olive, an account of a "sent woman" who travelled to London for marriage from the Caribbean. Meanwhile Alex Matraxia, a London-based poet, took home the Platinum prize for poetry with Male Nudes by George Platt Lynes, described as "a touching exploration of male sexuality and vulnerability".
The other prize winners include Seren Thomas, a healthcare worker based in South Wales (Gold, Prose); Heenali Patel, a professional Tarot card reader and women’s rights campaigner (Silver, Prose); Laura Leung-How, who has previously been shortlisted for the Penguin Random House Write Now competition (Bronze, Prose); British-Malaysian-Chinese poet Chloe Elliot (Gold, Poetry), who won 2019's Timothy Corsellis Prize; Ellie Jackson, whose day job is combatting food poverty and instability in Edinburgh (Silver, Poetry); and Dead [Women] Poets Society co-founder Helen Bowell (Bronze, Poetry).
Judged by Hudson, Anaxagorou and writer and editor Aki Schilz after 1,400 entries poured in, the winning 12 submissions have been published in an anthology alongside work by the guest authors, which is available now in hard copy and as an e-book. The winners also receive a cash prize and development opportunities with writers, publishers and literary agencies.
Hudson said: "The Creative Future Writers’ Award is one of the highlights of the annual literary calendar as far as I am concerned. It does what a prize for emerging writers should: discovers astounding new talent that might otherwise go unrecognised. This year the entries were incredibly diverse but what connected them all was the high, high quality of the prose and entirely unique perspectives on themes. If this list is any indication, the future of writing is bright."
Anaxagorou said: "It was a joy to read for this year’s Creative Future Award; to see the range of poetry and fiction which was submitted, all so unique and bold in the ways the work approached the theme of 'Tomorrow'. Some of the writing contained flashes of hope and understanding, others were more abstract and critical in the way they perceived 'Tomorrow'. What the winning pieces showed was a compelling conviction in the belief and power of the words, and a need to resonate with a wide and discerning readership."
Jane McMorrow, director of Creative Future, said: “This year we received 1,400 entries from across the country to our 2020 Creative Future Writers’ Award competition—our highest number of submissions since the awards began in 2013. The quality of the work submitted was exceptional, and we are thrilled to offer our 12 outstanding winners a unique range of development prizes. There is an abundance of talent in this group of emerging writers. We are delighted to have found such brilliant new voices, and are eager to continue working with them to develop their writing careers."
Previous winners include Jarred McGinnis, whose new memoir will be published by Canongate in 2021; Romalyn Ante, whose debut poetry collection is published by Chatto & Windus in July 2020; Kirsty Capes, whose debut novel will be published by Orion in 2021; Michelle Perkins, who was this year awarded the National Centre for Writing Inaugural Laura Kinsella Fellowship, and Natalie Linh Bolderston, who went on to win the Eric Gregory Poetry Prize 2020.