Time to Write Awards
Peter Bennet’s most recent book is Border, published by Bloodaxe Books in 2013. Two of his pamphlet collections have been collaborations with the artist Birtley Aris.
“The borders of the real and the imagined are frequently breached, and the world next door to the real is by no means a refuge. Bennet has armed himself with a sophisticated dramatic understanding learned in part from Browning, as well as propulsive rhythms. Charm can be followed by shock. There is a sense of mischief here, part of a rich, distinctive vision and its evolving music.” (The Guardian)
“Verbal panache that borders on the dandyish; conventional stanzas, predominantly iambic metre and occasional or elusive rhymes lend a misleadingly reassuring air to a poetry that is full of bold imaginative strokes, subversive connections and dark wit.” (Poetry Book Society Bulletin)
“But such is Bennet’s way: in his world nothing is ever simple and he tells us so with a linguistic inventiveness and panache that are rare in contemporary verse. This is poetry that – unfashionably – sings.” (Times Literary Supplement)
Peter Bennet’s eighth book, Mischief, is forthcoming from Bloodaxe Books.
A children’s novelist and a playwright, Ann Coburn has written 20 children’s books, the latest of which are Glint, a novel for older readers; and Dream Team, an ongoing series for younger readers (eight written and four published so far). Her plays are published by Oberon Books. Her children’s books are published by HarperCollins, Heinemann, Random House and Walker Books. When not writing under her own name, Ann enjoys a parallel life as a children’s fiction ghost writer.
Ann has written seven theatre play commissions, including: Get Up and Tie Your Fingers, winner of the John Whiting Award; The Devil’s Ground, winner of a CP Taylor Bursary; and, for children, Alex and the Warrior and The Last Snow Rider (all toured by NTC). She has just completed her eighth theatre commission, to be toured in 2013.
An experienced creative writing tutor and mentor, Ann works with prose writers and playwrights of all ages. Currently, she is the Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Newcastle University and she also tutors on their MA creative writing programme.
Dream Team: Flying Solo (Walker Books, 2006)
Dream Team: Showtime (Walker Books, 2006)
Glint (Random House Children’s Books, Red Fox imprint, 2005)
Three Plays: Get Up & Tie Your Fingers, Safe, The Devil’s Ground (Oberon Books, 2003)
Alex and the Warrior (Oberon Books, 2004)
Rebecca Jenkins is a cultural historian, novelist and biographer. Her biography of 19th century actress Fanny Kemble, The Reluctant Celebrity, was short-listed for the 2005 Theatre Book Prize, and her social history, The First London Olympics, 1908, was long-listed for the William Hill Sport Book of the Year Award. The Duke’s Agent is the first of her FR Jarrett mysteries, set in the north east of England during Regency times. The second book in the series, Death of a Radical, was published by Quercus in November 2010. She lives in Teesdale.
Northern Promise Awards
Alice de Smith
Alice de Smith was born in Cambridge and now lives in Newcastle upon Tyne. Her work for the theatre, which includes Our Kind of Fun, Briefs, and The Cinderella Group, has been performed at Live Theatre, Newcastle, The Everyman, Liverpool and the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough. She has also written travel and feature articles for national newspapers and magazines. In 2007, she received a Northern Writers’ Time to Write Award for her novel, Welcome to Life. She is currently working on her second novel.
Welcome to Life (Atlantic, 2009)
Beda Higgins is an award winning author and poet. She has two collections of short stories published: CHAMELEON and LITTLE CRACKERS. CHAMELEON was chosen as a Read Regional Recommendation and long-listed for the Edgehill Prize. LITTLE CRACKERS was long-listed for the Frank O’ Connor Award and the Edgehill Prize, and includes a first prize winner Mslexia short story. Her first collection of poetry OURSELVES was joint winner of the Geoff Stevens award 2020 and is currently short-listed for the Pigott Poetry Prize 2021. She has poetry and prose published in a variety of anthologies and collections, and as a nurse is the recipient of two Queen’s Nursing Institute Awards.
Chameleon (Iron Press, 2011)
Book of Ten (Zebra Publishing, 2010)
The Grist Anthology of New Writing (Grist, 2009)
The Poetry Cure (Bloodaxe Books, 2005)
Valerie Laws is a poet, crime and comedy novelist, playwright and sci-art specialist. Her latest collection, All That Lives, won her a Time to Write Award, in 2006. Its poetry of sex, death and pathology, arises from funded residencies at a London pathology museum and KCL Medical School, and at Newcastle University working with neuroscientists and pathologists. Her 11 books include three full collections of poetry, crime fiction in the form of Northern Promise Award-winner The Rotting Spot, comedy and drama. She has had 12 plays commissioned for stage and BBC radio, and won many prizes and awards, including a Wellcome Trust Arts Award, and two prizes in the National Poetry Competition.
Science-themed poetry installations and commissions include the infamous Quantum Sheep, an Arts Council-funded project which involved spray-painting random haiku onto live sheep. She featured in BBC2 TV’s documentary Why Poetry Matters, and appeared live at the Royal Festival Hall with a quantum haiku on inflatable beach balls. Her poetry AV installations, which change to reflect their subjects, feature in public exhibitions in London, Berlin and Newcastle, and her embedded haiku Window of Art computer-controlled illuminated commission is in St Thomas Hospital. She has undertaken many residencies, including in Egypt, and recently in a physic garden. She performs her work extensively in the media and live at festivals and events in UK, Ireland and New York.
All That Lives (Red Squirrel Press, 2011)
Lydia Bennet’s Blog (Kindle & Smashwords, 2012)
The Rotting Spot (Kindle 2011, Red Squirrel Press 2009)
Changing Age, Changing Minds (IAH, University of Newcastle, 2011)
Fiona Ritchie Walker
Fiona Ritchie Walker’s poems and short stories
have been published in many magazines and anthologies, including the British Council’s New Writing and New Writing Scotland series.
Her play, The Anstruther Light, was a finalist in the Scottish Community Drama Association’s One Act Play
In 2012, she read her poem, ‘Mrs Thorpe’s Arithmetic’, on Radio 4’s Poetry Please after it won the BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine poetry competition. She also won the 2014 Carers UK Creative Writing Competition and the 2015 Felix Dennis Creative Writing Competition.
Her poem, ‘One Concession and Child’, is part of Guernsey Literature Festival’s Poems on the Move 2017, on display at the island’s airport and on buses.
Fiona has published five poetry collections: Lip Reading (1999); Garibaldi’s Legs (2005), Angus Palette (2006), The Second Week of the Soap (2013) and Taking Aim (2016), which she presented at the Edinburgh Fringe as part of Appletree Writers’ Spoken Word Sundays.
The Waterhouse Poetry Award
The Northern Young Writer of the Year
Dhruv Adam Sookhoo