The Royal Society of Literature (RSL) has announced the winners of its Literature Matters Awards, providing financial support for new projects.
Seven projects from writers working across forms have been chosen by judges Adjoa Andoh, Hannah Berry and Ian McMillan.
Among the winners is Anita Sethi, who has been awarded £3,600 to fund I Belong Here, a series of nature writing workshops for northern writers from BAME and low-income backgrounds.
Writer Saleh Addonia has been given £2,000 towards The Feeling House, a short story collection focusing on time, remembering, and forgetting, exile and alienation and hearing.
Sawad Hussain picks up £3,500 for Bila Hudood: Arabic Literature Everywhere, an online literary festival showcasing Arabic literature. An award has also gone to Carolyn Jess-Cooke £2,800 for the Stay-At-Home! Literary Festival, a virtual event dedicated to developing writers and readers.
Axe Marnie gets £1,990 for Fisher Cats of Newhaven, a children's comic, set in the historic fishing town of Newhaven in the mid-19th century recasting the fishing community as cats. Meanwhile, Richard O'Neill has been given £2,500 for Bridges to Literature, a project onnecting Roma Gypsy pupils to literature through their cultural and oral history.
Finally, Elspeth Wilson gets £3,610 for her Un/Natural Accessible workshops for deaf, disabled, and neurodiverse writers on nature writing.
The judges commented: “We were blown away by the level of industry and ambition on display. Creativity endures – there is so much still to be said and done, and no virus can stem the tide.”
First awarded in 2018, the RSL Literature Matters Awards aim to “enable literary excellence and innovation, providing writers with financial support to undertake new literary projects that extend the reach of literature”.