Writers including Tara Guha, Adam Bennett-Lea and James Harris are amongst the winners of this year’s Northern Writers’ Awards, administered by New Writing North, and are among 27 writers sharing a £55,000 prize fund.
Guha, whose debut novel Untouchable Things was released by Legend Press in 2015, was awarded the £5,000 prize for fiction and narrative non-fiction for her unnamed second book, while Bennett-Lea won the Channel 4 Writing for Television Award. He won £3,000 and a placement with independent television production company, Bonafide Films.
Harris was named the winner of the first £5,000 Hachette Children’s Novel Award, run in partnership with Hachette Children’s Group, with his unnamed debut children’s book about a girl who lives in a town where there is a mysterious scientific facility.
The Northern Writers’ Awards launched in 2000 to recognise new and existing talent and this year’s judges included poet Don Paterson, literary agent Jo Unwin, writer Sita Brahmachari and Ellah Wakatama Allfrey, publisher at the Indigo Press.
“It was a huge pleasure to read such a wide range of unpublished work from writers of such promise and potential,” said Wakatama Allfrey. “The winners we have chosen all exhibit ambition and imagination in equal measure, with stories that inspired us. I firmly believe we will be reading published books by these writers before long.”
New Writing North said it received 1,600 entries to the awards, making 2019 the “most competitive year yet”.
Claire Malcolm, chief executive, said: “It is with great excitement that we announce the winners of this year’s Northern Writers’ Awards. The awards have a really impressive track record of finding and supporting brilliant new writers and helping them go on to great things, so we know that we will see some of the work awarded tonight on our bookshelves, on the prize lists and even on our television screens in the years to come. These are the ones to watch.”
The list of 2019 winners in full is:
Northern Writers’ Awards for Fiction and Narrative Non-Fiction - Tara Guha
Northern Writers’ Awards for Poetry -Rommi Smith, Sam Buchan-Watts and Penny Boxall
Hachette Children’s Novel Award - James Harris
NorthBound Book Award - Juliana Mensah
New North Poets programme - Penny Newell, Freya Jackson, Charlotte Wetton and Sarah Wimbush
Northern Debut Awards - Catharine Johnson, Jane Bradley and Leigh Goodall
TLC Free Reads Scheme - Eirinie Lapidaki, Shaun Wilson and Julie Noble
The Sid Chaplin Award - Winner: Lyndsey Skinner, Highly Commended: Christopher Fallow
Northumbria University Student and Alumni Award - Allison Adkins
Channel 4 Writing for Television Awards – Bonafide Films - Adam Bennett-Lea
Channel 4 Writing for Television Awards – Lime Pictures - Joshua Halm
Word Factory Apprentice Award - Melissa Wan
Andrea Badenoch Fiction Award - Sarah Corbett
Arvon Award - Sarah Dunnakey
Young Northern Writer Award - Winner: Ciah White, Highly Commended: Lauren Hollingsworth-Smith
Matthew Hale Award - Matthew Schofield