Winners 2008

Time To Write Award

  • Paul Summers

    Paul Summers was born in Blyth, Northumberland, in 1967. He now lives in tropical Central Queensland. His poems have appeared widely in print since the late Eighties and he has performed all over the world. He was founding co-editor of magazines Billy Liar and Liar Republic and a co-director of Liar Inc Ltd, responsible for facilitating countless creative community and educational projects across the north of England and beyond. He has also written for TV, film, radio and theatre and has collaborated many times with other artists and musicians on mixed-media projects and public art. He won Northern Arts Writers Awards in 1995 and 1998 and a Northern Writers’ Award in 2008.

    Selected publications
    Union, New & Selected Poems (Smokestack Books, 2011)
    The Dream That Days Break Portfolio (with David Gray) (76 degrees and clear, 2009)
    Three Men on the Metro (with WN Herbert & Andy Croft) (Five Leaves, 2009)
    Big Bella’s Dirty Cafe (Dogeater, 2006)
    Cunawabi (Cunawabi Publishing, 2003)
    The Last Bus (Iron Press, 1998)


Northern Promise Awards

  • Carolyn Jess-Cooke

    Carolyn Jess-Cooke was born in 1978 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. She started writing as a child, producing first a book of illustrated short stories at the age of seven, then a series of novels and poetry collections. After years of pestering publishers she finally saw her work in print at the age of seventeen; since then her work has appeared in such prestigious publications as Poetry London, Ambit, Magma, Poetry Wales, The SHOp, Poetry Ireland, and The Wolf, and on a variety of non-print media, including a poem that has been set into a 700m ribbon of steel at the Roseberry Park Medical Facility in Middlesbrough – currently the largest piece of public textual art in the UK. Carolyn has performed her work at the Sydney Writer’s Festival, the Ledbury Poetry Festival and at the Irish Writer’s Centre, and has received numerous awards, including an Eric Gregory Award from the Society of Authors, the Tyrone Guthrie Prize for Poetry, and a Northern Promise Award.

    Following a first class honours degree in English literature and classical studies at the Queen’s University of Belfast, Carolyn received a scholarship to study for a masters degree in creative writing, during which she developed the first drafts of what would later become her debut poetry collection, Inroads. Working as a piano tutor, pianist, photographer, and the occasional acting stint, Carolyn travelled the world during this time and lived for several years in Sydney, Australia. Later completing a PhD in Shakespeare on film, Carolyn took up an academic post in film studies at the University of Sunderland in 2005 followed by a senior post in creative writing at the University of Northumbria in 2009. She gave up tenure in 2011 to write full time.

    Carolyn has published four non-fiction books in the areas of Shakespeare, film, and sequels, a poetry collection (Inroads [Seren, 2010]), and her debut novel, The Guardian Angel’s Journal, about a woman who dies and goes back in time as her own guardian angel, was published in the UK & Commonweath by Piatkus/Little, Brown as their 2011 superlead title and immediately hit the Bookseller’s Heatseeker’s chart. The Guardian Angel’s Journal is published in over 20 languages. Carolyn’s second novel, The Boy Who Could See Demons, was published in the UK, Italy, Germany and the Netherlands in 2012; Random House are publishing the US version in 2013. A second poetry collection, Boom!, is being published by Seren in 2014.

    At the Northern Writers’ Awards 2013, Carolyn was awarded £500 towards a writing retreat to complete her second collection of poetry, Boom! As an academic, she is currently working on a research project which explores creative writing interventions for mental illness. Carolyn lives in Whitley Bay with her husband and four children.

    Selected publications
    Inroads (Seren, 2010)
    The Guardian Angel’s Journal (Piatkus, 2011)
    The Boy Who Could See Demons (Piatkus, 2012)
    Twitter: @CJessCooke

  • Claire Lewis

    Claire Lewis received a Northern Promise Award in 2008 after submitting a novel called The Dinosaur Room. She’d written this while studying creative writing and film studies at the now non-existent Cumbria Institute of the Arts in Carlisle. She then went on to train as a journalist at Darlington college. New Writing North provided some much appreciated feedback and support while she developed a new novel, A Sick Work of Art. The opening chapter of this featured in New Writing North’s anthology, Ten Years On, and was published by an independent publisher in 2009. Since then, Claire has married a Royal Marine, moved with him to a military base in North Devon and has had a baby; so the writing career has slowed down a bit lately. But she recently won a free read from The Literary Consultancy after submitting an extract from a new novel she is working on, and she is hoping to finish that novel and find a publisher for it in the next year.

    Selected work
    A Sick Work of Art (Wild Wolf, 2009)

  • Mark Magrs

    Mark Magrs was born in County Durham in 1973. Mark is the author of various fiction and non-fiction books. He has also written audio dramas and poetry. He has worked as a copywriter, radio producer and secondary school teacher. Following an assault by a pupil, Mark suffered a sustained period of poor mental health and has been unable to resume his teaching career. Some of Mark’s battles with mental illness are covered in his non-fiction work Too Much Information. His work as a teacher inspired the fictional work Looking for Atlantis, which deals with the problems of a teenager caring for a terminally ill adult. He is currently working on a comic novel, Big Gay Brother, and hopes to publish a short collection of poetry, Attack of the 50 Foot Panic Attack. Mark now lives in South Shields with his wife, son and a constantly shifting population of cats.

    Selected publications
    Too Much Information (Chipmunka, 2008)
    Looking for Atlantis (Chipmunka, 2009)
    Iris Wildthyme and the Panda Invasion (Big Finish Audio Production, 2009)

  • Zainab Radhi

    Zainab Radhi was born and raised in Baghdad and lived there until her late teens. She moved to the North East in 1999 and currently works as a teacher of English for speakers of other languages. She was accepted on the MA in creative writing at Northumbria University and graduated in 2007, having written 12 chapters of her first novel, Home. The book is a look at the lives of ordinary Iraqis during the first Gulf Conflict and is inspired by her own experiences growing up as a child of war.

The Waterhouse Poetry Award

  • Toby Martinez de las Rivas

    Toby Martinez de las Rivas was born in 1978 and attended Durham University where he graduated in History & Archaeology in 1999. He received an Eric Gregory award from the Society of Authors in 2005, and the Andrew Waterhouse Award and Australia Residency Award from New Writing North in 2008 and 2013 respectively. He had a pamphlet published as part of the Faber New Poets series in 2009, and was awarded an Arts Council Grant in 2010.

    He has had work published in a range of UK, American and European journals including Poetry (Chicago), The Tupelo Quarterly, Poetry Review, Poetry London, Rialto and Ambit, as well as in a number of recent anthologies such as Voice Recognition: 21 Poets for the 21st Century (Bloodaxe), Lung Jazz: Young British Poets for Oxfam (Cinnamon/Eyewear) and Dear World and Everyone In It: New Poetry in the UK (Bloodaxe).

    His first collection, Terror, was published by Faber & Faber in 2014 and his second, Black Sun, is due in 2018, also with Faber. His work will also appear as part of the Penguin Modern Poets series.

The Andrea Badenoch Fiction Award

  • Gibby Keys

    Gibby enjoys writing across a range of genres. She had her first writing success at the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, when a collection of her poetry was performed as part of the Scottish Young Playwright’s Festival. After graduating from Glasgow University, she worked in professional theatre alongside writers such as Liz Lochhead and Alan Aykbourn. Her drama, Stuff, which follows an unexpected reunion, was commissioned as part of the Bite Size Theatre programme at the Queen’s Hall in Hexham. The Hexham Courant wrote that the play “explored this emotional territory with a linguistic deftness and psychological acuity that made it a joy to listen to and watch”.

    In 2008, Gibby won the Andrea Badenoch Award for fiction for the opening chapter of her novel, The Handfastin’. Her short story, Spinnerinnen, was selected for the Listen at Lunch programme at Northern Stage and read by the cast of Margaret Wilkinson’s play, Queen Bee. Gibby, an English teacher, enjoys writing her blog, Pomegranates Suck, which follows the tragic demise of a series of Gove puppets. She has also contributed to the magazine ICIraq, created and edited by fellow Northern Writer Zainab Rhadi.


    Click here to see a video recording of the Listen at Lunch reading of Spinnerinnen (from 13:50)