Winners 2001

Northern Writer of the Year Award

  • Sean O’Brien

    Sean O’Brien is a poet, critic, playwright, anthologist, novelist and editor. He grew up in Hull and now lives in Newcastle upon Tyne. He has published seven collections of poetry to date, including Downriver and November. His Collected Poems will appear from Picador in December 2012.

    His book of essays on contemporary poetry, The Deregulated Muse (Bloodaxe), was published in 1998, as was his acclaimed anthology The Firebox: Poetry in Britain and Ireland after 1945 (Picador). His Newcastle Bloodaxe Poetry lectures, Journey to the Interior: Ideas of England in Contemporary Poetry are published in 2012. He has edited a selection from Andrew Marvell (Faber 2011) and, with Don Paterson, The Rest on the Flight: Selected Poems of Peter Porter (2010).

    His collection of short stories, The Silence Room, appeared from Comma Press in 2008 and his novel Afterlife from Picador in 2009. He has translated Dante’s Inferno and the poems of Corsino Fortes. His plays include The Birds, Laughter When We’re Dead, and Keepers of the Flame. His translation of Calderon’s The Grand Comedy of the Prodigious Magician is to be staged in 2013.

    He contributes to The Guardian, The Sunday Times and the Times Literary Supplement. Radio work includes versions of Zamyatin’s We, Greene’s The Ministry of Fear and a forthcoming Radio 4 documentary on Ted Lewis, the author of Get Carter.

    Current projects include a new book of poems and a novel. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

    Selected publications
    Downriver (Picador, 2007)
    November (Picador, 2011)
    Collected Poems (Picador, 2012)

Time to Write Awards

  • Charles Fernyhough

    Charles Fernyhough is a writer and psychologist. His non-fiction book, The Baby in the Mirror, has been translated into seven languages. His book on autobiographical memory, Pieces of Light, is published by Profile Books in the UK (forthcoming from HarperCollins USA, March 2013). He is the author of two novels, The Auctioneer and A Box of Birds.

    Awards include a Time to Write Award (2001) from the Northern Writers’ Awards, and an Arts Council of England Grant for the Arts (2005). Charles has taught creative writing, with a particular focus on psychological processes in reading and writing, in a variety of contexts around the UK, including a short course on creative writing and psychology at Newcastle University. He is a faculty member of the School of Life in London, and has appeared at festivals in Barcelona, Sydney, Edinburgh, Hay-on-Wye, Durham, Newcastle and Sheffield.

    Charles has written for the Guardian, Observer, Financial Times, Sunday Telegraph, Scotland on Sunday and Sydney Morning Herald. He blogs for the US magazine Psychology Today and has made numerous radio appearances in the UK and US. He is a part-time reader in psychology at Durham University, where he conducts research in child development, hallucinations and memory.

    Selected publications
    The Baby in the Mirror (Granta, 2008)
    Pieces of Light (Profile Books, 2012)
    The Auctioneer (Fourth Estate, 1999)
    A Box Of Birds (Unbound, 2012)

  • Janni Howker

    Cumbria-based children’s writer Janni Howker won a Time to Write Award in 2001 so that she could work on a new collection of stories for young people. Jenni was born in Cyprus, where her father was stationed with the RAF, though she has since slowly moved north – first back to the Lancashire mill towns of her’s family’s origins, and now on to the very remote borders of England and Scotland.

  • Peter Mortimer

    Peter Mortimer is a poet, playwright, traveller, editor and theatre director who has lived in the North East since 1970. He has written more than 20 plays, which have been performed in the region by such companies as Live Theatre, Durham Theatre, Théâtre Sans Frontières, Dodgy Clutch, Theatre by the Lake, and his own company, Cloud Nine, which he set up in 1979 as a vehicle for new writing by northern dramatists. A former theatre critic for The Guardian, he has also published two adult collections of poetry, and a good deal of poetry and fiction for children. His ‘extreme’ books include Broke Through Britain, about a 500-mile penniless walk from Plymouth to Edinburgh; The Last of the Hunters, which documents six months working as a fisherman in the North Sea; Cool for Qat, the story of journeying through remote Yemen to research a play; and Camp Shatila, an account of his two months living in Shatila Palestinian refugee camp in Beirut. His novella, Uninvited, is published by Red Squirrel Press. He has run Iron Press since establishing it in 1973.

    Selected publications
    The Last of the Hunters (Five Leaves, 2006)
    Camp Shatila (Five Leaves, 2009)

  • John Murray

    John Murray was born in West Cumbria and now lives in Brampton, near Carlisle. In 1984 he founded the prestigious fiction magazine Panurge, which he and David Almond edited until 1996. He has published a collection of stories, Pleasure, for which he received the Dylan Thomas Award in 1988, and nine critically acclaimed novels: Samarkand, Kin, Reiver Blues, John Dory, Jazz Etc, Murphy’s Favourite Channels, Radio Activity, A Gentleman’s Relish and The Legend of Liz and Joe.

    John Dory won a Lakeland Book of the Year Award in 2002, and Jazz Etc. was longlisted for the Man-Booker Prize in 2003. His 2004 novel, Murphy’s Favourite Channels, was a Novel of the Week in the Daily Telegraph, and Radio Activity was the people’s choice in voting for the best Cumbrian novel ever. He received Northern Writers’ Awards from New Writing North in 2001 and 2003.

Northern Promise Awards

  • Martin Hetherington

    Although still unpublished, and having been under contract to four literary agencies, Martin hasn’t given up. He recently completed a gritty, urban crime thriller – Tattooed Jungle – and is on the lookout for new representation.

  • Jacob Polley

    Jacob Polley has published four books of poems, winning the 2016 T.S. Eliot Prize for his fourth, Jackself. He also won the 2010 Somerset Maugham Award for his first novel, Talk of the Town, and the 2012 Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize for The Havocs. He teaches at Newcastle University and lives on the north east coast.

    Jacob Polley

  • Anna Woodford

    Anna Woodford is a poet and practitioner based in Newcastle. Her poetry collection Birdhouse won the Crashaw Prize and was included in the Guardian’s round up of the best poetry books of the year. Her pamphlet ‘Party Piece’ was a winner in the international Poetry Business Competition. Her pamphlet ‘Trailer’ was a Poetry Book Society Choice.

    She has received an EPSRC grant for a residency at York University’s CoMotion Research Centre, a Leverhulme Award for a residency at Durham University’s Law School, an Eric Gregory Award, an Arvon/Jerwood Apprenticeship, a Hawthornden Fellowship and residencies at the Blue Mountain Center (New York) and the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, Ireland. She has been poet in residence at Alnwick Garden and the Tyne & Wear Fire & Rescue Service. She is a peer reviewer for Creative Scotland.

    Her poems have been published in the Times Literary Supplement, Rialto, Poetry London and Poetry Review.
    Anna has a PhD in the poetry of Sharon Olds. She teaches creative writing in HE and the community. She helps facilitate New Writing North’s annual Read Regional campaign with the poet Linda France.


    Birdhouse (Salt, 2010)
    Party Piece (Smith/Doorstop, 2009)
    Trailer (Five Leaves, 2007)
    The Higgins’ Honeymoon (Driftwood, 2001)

    Anna Woodford

Mentoring Support

  • Pru Kitching

    Pru Kitching trained for the theatre and married painter and stage designer Gerald Kitching. Following his death in 1989 she ran away to Copenhagen from where, as Secretary General of the International Amateur Theatre Association, she travelled extensively and wrote copiously. Pru now lives in Upper Weardale in the North Pennines. Her first poetry pamphlet, All Aboard the Moving Staircase, was published in 2004 by Vane Women Press. Her second, The Kraków Egg, was published by Arrowhead Press in 2008.

  • Heather Young