Author L J Ross is to launch an arts initiative, offering community grants, promoting literacy and encouraging tourism in the north-east.
Read, Write, Walk North East — With L J Ross, a year-long programme, will feature writing prizes, photography competitions and reading challenges. It will also include literary walking trails, inspired by Ross' protagonist DCI Ryan, which are linked to smartphone GPS navigation, and will enable walkers and readers to explore the scenery that inspires Ross' novels.
Entries for the inaugural Northern Photography Prize, sponsored by Dark Skies Publishing, will open next week as part of the programme. The amateur photography prize, which aims to celebrate the spirit and heart of the north-east, includes a £1,000 prize for best landscape image and a £1,000 prize for best portrait image. In addition to the cash prize, shortlisted and winning entries will have the opportunity to be included in a book celebrating the area, the proceeds of which will go to local food banks, and see the work exhibited in a gallery.
Ross has established a community fund of up to £50,000 for local businesses in the north-east battling to survive the pandemic. Organisations can apply for grants of up to £10,000.
Commenting on the initiative, Ross said: "Read, Write, Walk North East was inspired by my readers. I’ve been so fortunate during my career to have garnered a loyal and generous fan base, many of whom come from the north-east, where my DCI Ryan series is set and where I was born, grew up and now live with my husband and son.
“At a time when community spirit and kindness are all important, I wanted to do my part in giving back wherever I am able, and that’s where this initiative comes in. It covers a host of different prizes, grants and wellbeing projects launching over the coming months designed to support creative arts, literacy and local enterprise – as well as spotlighting some of the incredible people, landscapes, talent and hard work in the region that I love.”
Now in its third year, the Lindisfarne Prize for Crime Fiction, which the author founded in partnership with the Newcastle Noir Literary Festival and Newcastle Libraries, is now open for submissions, and for the first time both established and emerging writers are eligible to enter. Ross will also launch the Lindisfarne Children’s Prize in 2021, in conjunction with schools in the north-east, to "celebrate young storytellers". It offers tiered prize packages to young writers and their school libraries.
In the New Year, Ross will extend the pilot of her new reading scheme, the Lindisfarne Reading Challenge, for disadvantaged children at secondary school level. The new model rewards children when they finish reading five books of their choice and she hopes to roll out the challenge more widely across the north-east and beyond, with the hope of providing a blueprint for schools across the country.
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