Northern Writers' Award winners share £40k pot

Northern Writers' Award winners share £40k pot

Nineteen writers from across the North of England shared the £40,000 prize fund at the Northern Writers’ Awards ceremony in Newcastle upon Tyne last night (Tuesday 17th June).
 
In the fiction category, Chloe Daykin, Sarah Dunnakey, Michael Edwards, Addy Farmer and Naomi Lever were honoured. Deborah Finn won the Andrea Badenoch Prize for Fiction from women writers over the age of 42, which is funded and judged by Badenoch’s friends and family.
 
One of the poetry winners, Andrew McMillan, has been signed by Jonathan Cape since he applied for the award. The other winners in the poetry category were Andrew Forster, Kim Moore, Phoebe Power, Julian Turner and Ben Wilkinson. The Andrew Waterhouse Award, in memory of the late British poet who received an award in the inaugural Northern Writers’ Awards in 2000, went to Polly Atkins.
 
One of the judges, poet Jean Sprackland, said: “I’m confident that these winning poets are in a position to make a real impact on poetry in Britain. Awards like this can make a powerful difference, and it’s a joy to be able to support poets at different stages in their writing lives.”
 
This year also saw the first ever Cuckoo Young Writers prize for writers aged 15-18 from the North, which is entirely funded by public donations. The inaugural recipient was 18-year-old Jasmin Simms.
 
Journalist and novelist Elizabeth Day, who was judging, described Simms as “a writer of extraordinary power”. She added: “Her poems are lyrically precise, clear-sighted and truthful. I’m amazed at how much talent she has for someone so young.” A further four young writers were given a special commendation: Uka Colley, Bronwen Fraser, Jake Raffle and Daniella Watson.
 
The winner of the £500 Matthew Hale Award for young people aged 12-18 who want to develop their writing and literature was 14-year-old Justine Mewton, who was nominated by her teacher Rachel Gaffney.
 
A further five writers are receiving bursary prizes for their works-in-progress, in partnership with The Literary Consultancy and Arvon, which will consist of either a full manuscript appraisal by TLC or a week-long Arvon residency.
 
The awards are managed by New Writing North, the writing development agency for the North of England, in partnerships with Arts Council England and Northumbria University. The university has just confirmed that it will support the Awards for the fourth year in 2015. Potts Print UK are also project sponsors.
 
Anna Disley, acting chief executive of New Writing North, said the awards “offer a unique package of cash that has seen many writers go on to achieve book deals, residencies and commissions’. She added: “We have achieved a real reputation amongst publishers and cultural organisations as talents spotters, so winning an award can open doors for promising writers.”
 
As well as the cash prize, winners are invited to attend a publishing industry networking event hosted by New Writing North, where they can pitch their work to literary agents and editors.
 
Disley explained: “The core of the publishing industry remains focused in and on London, so part of our awards scheme is to take the writers to those key agents and editors.”
 
Previous winners of the awards include many writers whose work has gone on to be published, including Carolyn Jess-Cooke, Mari Hannah, Sean O’Brien and Niel Bushnell.