Winners 2016

Northern Writers' Awards

  • AB Jackson

    A.B. Jackson was born in Glasgow and raised in the village of Bramhall, Cheshire. After attending high school in Cupar, Fife, he studied English Literature at the University of Edinburgh. His first book, Fire Stations (Anvil), won the Forward Prize for Best First Collection in 2003, and Apocrypha (Donut Press) was the Poetry Book Society’s Pamphlet Choice for summer 2011. His most recent collection, The Wilderness Party (Bloodaxe Books, 2015), is a Poetry Book Society Recommendation. His poems have appeared in The Best British Poetry 2013 and Identity Parade: New British & Irish Poets, as well as The Poetry ReviewPoetry London, the TLSThe Dark Horse, and Magma. In 2010 he won first prize in the Edwin Morgan International Poetry Competition with his poem ‘Treasure Island’. He lives in Sheffield.

  • 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.

  • Amy McCauley

    Amy McCauley lives in Manchester. Her current projects include: a book called Oedipa, which reimagines the Oedipus myth, a book of essays on language, violence and desire, and a novel-in-verse about Joan of Arc. Amy’s work explores the possibility of responding to canonical texts and myths, and her writing often enters into a dialogue with these mythic narratives. Much of her work begins with voices engaged in a struggle, and she likes to write using the page as a performance space. Amy’s poems, essays and interviews have been published widely in magazines and anthologies, and she is poetry submissions editor for New Welsh Review.

  • Mark Pajak

    Mark Pajak was born in Merseyside. His work has been published in MagmaThe North and The Rialto, been short-listed for the Bridport Prize, highly commended in the Buzzwords Cheltenham Poetry Competition and The Poetry Society’s National Poetry Competition. He is this year’s Apprentice Poet in Residence at Ilkley Literature Festival and his first pamphlet, Spitting Distance, has been selected as a Laureate’s Choice and will be published with smith|doorstop in October.

  • Yvonne Reddick

    Yvonne Reddick grew up between Glasgow, Berkshire, Kuwait City and France. She is a dual citizen of Britain and Switzerland. When she moved to Preston, she found that the North of England had the world’s best tea, humour and hillwalking, so she decided to stay. Yvonne has published two pamphlets of poetry, LandForms and Deerhart, and co-edited The Apple Anthology for Nine Arches Press. Educated at Cambridge and the Warwick Writing Programme, she works as an academic researcher and lecturer in Creative Writing. She is working on her first full collection of poems.

  • Stacey Sampson

    Stacey Sampson has worked as a professional actor across theatre, television and film since the age of 15. This gradually evolved into writing for stage & screen and Stacey’s work has premiered at regional theatres and toured nationally. She is an Associate Artist with internationally acclaimed Third Angel and collaborates with them on a regular basis.

    Stacey has been selected for various development schemes as a playwright. In 2015 she was named by the BBC as one of their ‘Ones to Watch’ and completed a BBC Performing Arts Fellowship with tutti-frutti, Leeds. In 2016 she was selected as one of twelve ‘Next Generation Artists’ and represented the UK at the international ASSITEJ festival (about making work for and with young people). She has also been part of the Fuse Project at Sheffield Theatres and invited to take part in development workshops with the Royal Court.

    Stacey’s fiction has won a Northern Writers’ Award, an Arvon Award and the Mslexia Novel Competition. She took part in the prestigious Arvon Jerwood Mentoring Scheme and a selection of this work will be launched in 2017. She is represented by Hardman & Swainson Literary Agency and her novel is currently on submission to publishers.

  • Jessica Irena Smith

    Jessica has always enjoyed writing, but it wasn’t until she began studying at the National Glass Centre that she had the idea for her first book, a children’s fantasy-adventure. Upon graduating in 2009, she began writing The Glass Blower’s Apprentice: The Fourth Diamond using her knowledge and passion for her subject, along with a little artistic licence.

  • Shash Trevett

    Shash Trevett is a Tamil from Sri Lanka who came to the UK to escape from the civil war; she now lives in York. Her poems have been published in journals, most notably Modern Poetry in Translation, and her work was used by the artist Alec Finlay, in conjunction with the National Trust/Arts Council, as part of his First World War Commemoration. Her poems have appeared in the anthologies Hallelujah for 50ft Women and Centres of Cataclysm. She is a winner of the 2016 Amnesty International ‘Silenced Shadows’ poetry competition about the disappeared in Sri Lanka. Her work was featured in the Spring 2016 refugee focus issue of Modern Poetry in Translation. She has given readings around Yorkshire and was invited to read at the York Literature Festival in 2015. She has been recorded by the British Library sound archive for their Between Two Worlds: Poetry & Translation Project and is working on completing her first collection.

  • Benjamin Webster

    Benjamin Webster grew up in a small village in the Lancashire countryside. His childhood was filled with long walks in the woods where he would exercise his imagination creating tales around the local landmarks. Now living on the other side of the Pennines, Benjamin continues to go for long walks with his children in West Yorkshire, making up tales, some of which won’t leave his head until they are put down on paper. Flea (A Fairytale of Sorts) is one such tale: a novel influenced by the countryside, the responsibilities of being a parent and the fact that no one ever really grows up.

  • Clare Weze

    Clare Weze has been writing fiction for most of her life, starting as a child, and writes for both adults and children. Her work has been shortlisted for the Commonword Children’s Diversity Writing Prize, and her short fiction has appeared in several anthologies, including Gears of Brass (Curiosity Quills, 2014), Snowflakes (Bridge House Publishing, 2015) and Ghosts Cast No Shadows (Curiosity Quills, 2016). She is also the co-author and editor of Cloudscapes over the Lune. She lives in North Yorkshire, where she works as a freelance academic editor. Her writing has previously been hijacked by a career in scientific research.

Andrew Waterhouse Award

  • Seán Hewitt

    Seán Hewitt was born in 1990 and read English at the University of Cambridge, where he received his college’s Emily Davies and Lilias Sophia Ashworth Hallett scholarships and twice received the Charity Reeves Prize in English. In 2014, he was awarded Arts Council England funding for a series of poems, and in 2015 was selected as one of the Poetry Trust’s Aldeburgh Eight. He is studying for a PhD at the Institute of Irish Studies, University of Liverpool. His poetry has been published in Poetry (Chicago) and The Poetry Review, amongst others.

Arvon Award

  • J.A. Mensah

    J.A. Mensah is a writer based in the north east of England. She has written for theatre with a focus on human rights narratives and the testimonies of survivors. She was Leverhulme Artist in Residence at the Centre for Applied Human Rights at the University of York and she holds a PhD in Literature and Creative Writing from Newcastle University. Her first novel won the inaugural NorthBound Book Award.

Clare Swift Short Story Award

  • Deborah Buchan

    Deborah Buchan was born in Newcastle and now lives in Northumberland. Her working life began in Theatre-in-Education where she worked as an actor, director and writer. She has written a novel for young people which was informed by her work in hostels, refuge and residential care. Her short stories and poems have won and been short listed for various competitions, including Mslexia, the Bishop Auckland Short Story Competition and Northern Film and Media Words and Vision. She has read both her short stories and her poems at literature events in the North East and is the 2016 winner of the Clare Swift Short Story Award.

Northumbria University Student and Alumni Award

  • John Schoneboom

    John Schoneboom is a novelist and playwright from New York who has been living in Newcastle upon Tyne since 2010. His play Dreams of Jimmy Bannon won the Artist Fellowship Award from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and was followed by a series of mainly short plays, mostly for Off Off Broadway venues in Manhattan. His most recent play, Macintosh Macintosh and the Dinosaur Salesman, written for children, will be performed as part of the Midtown International Theatre Festival to be held in NYC this summer (2016). Schoneboom’s first novel, Fontoon, was published by Dedalus Books. He is currently nearing completion of a new novel while working on a PhD in Creative Writing at Northumbria University. He and his wife Abigail have unleashed two rapidly growing children upon an unsuspecting world.

New Fiction Bursaries

  • Vik Banks

    Vik Banks cares about art and fighting exploitation and making time to do what gives you joy. Wrangling words is a joy-giver and she is trying to do more of it, experimenting with both adult and children’s fiction. Brave Enough is her first children’s novel. She draws storylines from the highs and lows of living abroad, working in call centres, setting up a business, riding a bike down country lanes, climbing trees, selling biros door-to-door and most recently running an arts centre in a neo-Gothic church building. She lives in Leeds.

  • Libby Carpenter

    Libby Carpenter lives in Preston and has been writing short stories for many years. She began writing her first novel in 2013 while being a stay-at-home mum to her second son. She completed a BA in English Literature and Language with the Open University in 2009 while raising her eldest son and managing a charity shop. She was long-listed for Yeovil Literary Prize and Mslexia Women’s Novel competition. She won Adhoc Fiction in June 2015 for her flash fiction. She loves living in the north of England and sets most of her stories in the area. Her writing heroes are Charlotte Bronte and Sally Wainwright.

  • Nicholas Graham

    Nicholas Graham grew up in West Cumbria and spent his youth among the mountains of the Lake District. He has variously worked for an international airline, a long-standing mutual organisation, an obscure government agency and one of the country’s leading universities. He has also voiced numerous online industrial training courses and was formerly half of BBC Radio Cumbria’s film review duo ‘The Men In Black’. He was a member of the Sidney Sussex College team that won BBC2’s University Challenge – Champion of Champions series in 2002. After living for many years in the south of England he returned to Cumbria with the aim of writing fiction. He lives with his family in a village on the Cumbrian coast.

  • Andy Hickmott

    Andy Hickmott grew up in Kent but has lived in the North West for the last seventeen years and now lives in Manchester. His poems have won prizes in the Wenlock and York festival poetry competitions, and have appeared in many literary magazines. He has published three chapbooks and recently had his first short story, ‘Return to Winnow Holt’, published in the magazine Bare Fiction. He is now focused on writing his first full novel.

  • Beda Higgins

    Beda Higgins is an award winning author and poet. She has two collections of short stories published: CHAMELEON and LITTLE CRACKERSCHAMELEON 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.

Andrea Badenoch Fiction Award

  • Lucy Nevitt

    Lucy Nevitt writes fiction for children and young adults. She spent the last decade as a university lecturer, teaching Drama and developing her research specialism in violence and performance. She has written academic articles on subjects ranging from Tudor tournaments to modern professional wrestling, taking in bleeding, rugby and Buffy the Vampire Slayer along the way. Her book, Theatre and Violence, was published by Palgrave in 2013. Her fiction writing is a little less bloody, although she does still love to pen a good sword-fight. Lucy lives in the East Riding of Yorkshire with her partner and their three dogs, one of whom is the real-life model for her current protagonist-in-progress.

Channel 4 / Northumbria University Writing for Television Awards - serial drama

  • Drew Hubbard

    Drew Hubbard lives in South Manchester with a well-used Netflix account and a huge love of TV, film and theatre. He began writing stories as a child and never stopped. He set up a children’s theatre company, writing educational shows with a maths twist, before finally realising he might like to write for TV. After consuming several scriptwriting books, and attending a mentored course, he started writing scripts based on his own ideas. Drew uses his scripts to challenge heteronormative ideas and give a voice to the often under-represented LGBT community.

  • Jayshree Patel

    Having worked in education for all her working life, Jayshree started to yearn for exploring her creativity through other means and joined an established script-writing group last year. She aims to embrace the joy of mixing cultures. As a British-born Indian woman, she felt she had to play a small part in the creation of a unified society that shares common values and in particular has an ability to laugh. Growing up in 70s Liverpool, as part of the only Asian family in a two-mile radius, she spent her time playing on the streets and watching TV. She strongly believes that through drama and comedy there is a real opportunity to present a vision of life that embraces all walks of society. She has many stories to tell for both adults and children, all of which embrace love, laughter and the joy of living. She is new to writing, and very much developing, but finds it a joy to be able to tell stories that perhaps somebody may want to hear.

Channel 4 / Northumbria University Writing for Television Awards - children's drama

  • Elizabeth Lomas

    Elizabeth Lomas lives in Manchester and graduated in Latin and French from the University of Manchester in 2015. She has had a passion for writing and storytelling from a young age. She loves writing screenplays, stage plays, and poetry on various topics and is working on a young adult novel. She is a member of the Writing Squad and has been a John Thaw Trainee in playwriting at the Royal Exchange Theatre. She has helped produce various short films in France and England. She also enjoys acting, volunteering, musical composition and environmental research.

Cuckoo Young Writers Award

  • Kate Collins (winner)

    Kate Collins is 18 years old and lives on the Wirral. She is a member of the Royal Exchange Theatre’s Young Writers, the Arts Council Writing Squad, the National Youth Theatre and the BFI Screenwriting Academy. She was long-listed for the 2015 Bruntwood Prize for playwriting and recently wrote and performed in SKIN, a short for Channel 4’s Random Acts. She’s been offered a place to study English at Cambridge, so regrettably may have to go South this year!

  • Jennifer Szandrowska (Highly Commended)

    Jennifer Szandrowska is a 17 year old A level student hoping to study English Literature and Classics at university. She started writing as a hobby at age 14, and focuses mainly on poetry and short stories.

  • Isabella Sharp (Highly Commended)

    Isabella Sharp is 17, from York, and aspires to be a novelist and screenwriter.

Conor Robinson Award

  • Catherine Maw

    Catherine is 18 years old, mainly writing lyrics and poetry. She is also interested in writing short stories. Having just completed A Levels in English Literature, History and Photography, she hopes to study English Literature with Creative Writing at university.

Matthew Hale Award

  • Amy Langdown

    Amy is a 14 year old school student who loves spoken word, short stories, musicals, reading , playing the piano and singing. She hopes to become a teacher in the future.

  • Shana Nichols

    Shana is a 14 year old high school student from Cramlington with a great interest in writing novels, slam poetry, and short stories. She hopes to pursue a career as a journalist in the future.