Northern Writers' Awards
Fiction: Alison Armstrong
Alison Armstrong grew up in Leeds and Withernsea, a small coastal town in North Humberside. She studied at Leeds University, Lancaster University and University of Cambridge and has lived near Lancaster for 17 years, with her two children, working as a teacher, practicing painter and a cleaner. She has been writing for many years – mainly short stories, which are her passion, but also working on a novel and a play.
Fiction: Yvonne Battle-Felton
Yvonne Battle-Felton is a writer, researcher, and lover of words currently based at Lancaster, UK where she has recently completed her Creative Writing PhD. She is a former Associate Lecturer at Lancaster University and is an Associate Professor at University of Maryland University College. Yvonne has recently completed her first novel, Remembered, a historically influenced novel where Spring, an emancipated slave, is forced to relive a haunting past in order to lead her dying son home. A writer of both fiction and creative nonfiction, Yvonne also writes short stories and essays. Her writing has appeared in riverSedge, Assisi, Not Somewhere Else But Here: A Contemporary Anthology of Women and Place (Sundress Publications, 2013), Welter, Slices, and The Chesapeake Reader Literary Journal. Yvonne is interested in creating stories with diverse characters living and loving on and off the page. She is looking forward to the opportunity to completing edits on Remembered. Off the page, Yvonne is creator and Executive Producer of The Writing Life, a radio show that explores the many ways writers make a living with their words. She is also creator and Co-Director of North West Literary Salon, Stories at the Storey true story open mic night, and Off the Page live literature events. Whether writing fact or fiction, Yvonne is interested in well-told stories with engaging characters, diverse voices, and compelling language. Yvonne has read/performed her writing at BBC’s Divercity book club, Spotlight, Bad Language, Stories at the Storey, and as part of an event produced by The Real Story. A mother of three, Yvonne is looking forward to having dedicated time to her writing practice, immersing in a writing community, and discovering where this chapter of her life will lead.
Fiction: Richard Smyth
Richard Smyth’s short fiction has appeared in Structo, The Stinging Fly, The Fiction Desk, Riptide, The Lonely Crowd, Foxhole, The Stockholm Review, Minor Literature[s], Firewords Quarterly, and anthologies from Ink Lines, Arachne Press and Spilling Ink. He won the 2013 ‘LS13’ Prize for northern writers and was longlisted in 2016-17 for the Galley Beggar Short Story Prize. His first novel, Wild Ink, was published by Dead Ink Books in 2014; his non-fiction books include A Sweet, Wild Note: What We Hear When The Birds Sing (2017). He writes for the Guardian, the Times Literary Supplement and the New Statesman, among others, and lives in Bradford with his wife and cat.
Fiction: Emily Devane
Born in Derbyshire, Emily Devane now lives and writes in Yorkshire. She began writing short stories when her children were small, during a career break from history teaching. In 2016 she was selected as a Word Factory Apprentice under the mentorship of Professor Ailsa Cox. As part of the apprenticeship scheme, she took up a weekend writing residency at Waterstone’s, Piccadilly; she also taught flash fiction writing workshops and performed her work. In February of this year, Emily won the Bath Flash Fiction Award for her story ‘The Hand That Wields The Priest’. Her short fiction can be found in publications online and in print, including The Lonely Crowd, The Bath Short Story Award Anthology (2015), Rattletales 4 and The National Flash Fiction Day Anthology (2016). Her piece from The Nottingham Review (Winter 2016), ‘Back When The Sky Was Different’, was nominated for the Best Small Fictions Anthology. Emily is currently working on a novel, as well as a short story collection about a series of ‘misfit’ protagonists, for which she has received one of this year’s Northern Writers’ Awards.
Poetry: Niall Campbell
Niall Campbell is a poet originally from South Uist, one of the Western Isles of Scotland. Moontide, his first collection, is published by Bloodaxe, and was named inaugural winner of the Edwin Morgan Poetry Award, and received the award for Saltire First Book of the Year. Moontide was also shortlisted for The Forward, Aldeburgh and Michael Murphy prizes for Best First Collection, and given a Poetry Book Society Recommendation. First Nights, a first US collection, was published in autumn 2016 as part of the Princeton Series of Contemporary Poets. He lives in Leeds and is working towards a second UK collection.
Poetry: Vidyan Ravinthiran
Vidyan Ravinthiran was born in Leeds in 1984, to Sri Lankan Tamil parents; he studied at Oxford and Cambridge before returning up north. He is the author of Grun-tu-molani (Bloodaxe, 2014), shortlisted for a number of first collection prizes, including the Forward; also Elizabeth Bishop’s Prosaic (Bucknell, 2015), winner of both the Warren-Brooks Award for Literary Criticism and the University English Prize. He writes verse, literary criticism, and fiction, and is represented by The Wylie Agency; alongside Sarah Howe and Dai George, he edits the online magazine of poetry and poetics, Prac Crit. He has written for the TLS, The London Review of Books, and Poetry (Chicago), among other publications; and is currently working on a novel, and also his second book of verse, The Million-Petalled Flower of Being Here. This is a book of sonnets – some have appeared in PN Review – written for his wife, the novelist Jenny Holden. It concerns the texture of an interracial relationship (the small awkwardnesses, the mind-enlarging discoveries) and touches on Brexit, experiences of discrimination, the Sri Lankan civil war, mental health, the work-life balance; tribalism, in multiple arenas; the relationship between sex and personhood – and the ways in which we emerge from family histories that are themselves shaped by the big global forces. The Million-Petalled Flower of Being Here is sceptical of a crude identity politics – insists that people can, and must, imagine their way into the mental life of others, and that class is of as much importance as race and gender – and pushes back against snobbish views of the North that have proliferated following the referendum vote. It makes connections – the courage shown, for example, by trans people, as well as by Northern towns in a different kind of ‘transition’ – in an effort to get people talking across cultural divisions.
Childrens' and Young Adult Fiction: Clare Bell
Clare Bell likes taking long walks through places that tell her stories. She lives in Cheshire but loves to return to her roots in South Yorkshire as subject matter for her writing. Clare’s inspiration and love of story comes from her grandma who had many adventures but who, when Clare first knew her, worked in a dusty, old, awe-inspiring library hidden away in tiny mining village. Working as a primary teacher specialising in literacy and text-based learning, Clare has led literacy in many schools and worked with literacy consultants on a range of different projects. Clare has a degree in English Language and Literature from King’s College London. She was short-listed for the Northern Writers’ Awards for children’s fiction and has previously been long-listed for the National Literacy Trust New Children’s Author Prize. Clare’s literary heroes are the children in her class.
Children's and Young Adult Fiction: Françoise Harvey
Françoise Harvey lives in Darlington and works in Newcastle. Born in Belgium, and with her formative years spent in Lincolnshire and on the Isle of Man, she lived and studied in North Wales and London before settling in the North East, a region that feels like home. She has had stories shortlisted in the 2016 Bridport and London Short Story Prizes, and was shortlisted for the Bristol Short Story Prize 2016. The same story appears in Salt Publishing’s Best British Short Stories 2017 (edited by Nicholas Royle). She has also had stories and poems published in magazines and anthologies, including The Lonely Crowd, Loss Lit, Litro, Best British and Irish Poets 2016 anthology (Eyewear), Envoi and The Interpreter’s House. Françoise is also a founder member of short story collective Literary Salmon (literarysalmon.wordpress.com), which produced e-book anthology The Casual Electrocution of Strangers (2015). She currently works as an assistant magazine editor and a freelance copywriter. She also releases music as a singer-songwriter under a pseudonym.
Andrew Waterhouse Award
Rachael Allen was born in Cornwall and studied English Literature at Goldsmiths College. She is the poetry editor for Granta, co-editor at the poetry press Clinic and of online journal Tender. A pamphlet of her poems was published as part of the Faber New Poets scheme, and her first collection was published by Faber in 2019.
Sophie Parkes lives in Mossley, Greater Manchester, where she runs a community writing group. Her passion for folk and traditional music fuels her fiction writing and she is currently working on a collection of short stories based on or influenced by English folk song. With a working title of Sovay, the collection seeks to demonstrate the form’s rich variety of stories which have been passed down through time in the pub, the field and the factory. Two of the stories from the collection have already found homes in The Pygmy Giant and Streetcake Magazine. Sophie’s first fiction publication came while she was studying for her A Levels, when she had a long-form piece serialised in a magazine. She studied creative writing under John McAuliffe and Martyn Bedford as part of her English Language and Literature degree at the University of Manchester, during which time she co-founded the University’s Creative Writing Society. She has since had other short stories placed in The Roundtable Review and a Comma Press anthology, William Faulkner’s Typewriter. In 2006, she was shortlisted for the PCS short story competition and in 2014, she was shortlisted for the Ideas Tap and Writers’ Centre Inspires mentoring programme. Sophie Parkes has also published two works of non-fiction: an official biography of musician, Eliza Carthy (Soundcheck Books, 2012), and a ghostwritten autobiography of blind endurance athlete, Dave Heeley (Pitch, 2016). For 15 years, she has contributed features and reviews to a range of different titles, including fRoots, Penguin Eggs, The Quietus, English Dance and Song, Spiral Earth, The Living Tradition and Manchester Evening News. For more information about Sophie and her writing, please visit sophieparkes.co.uk
Poetry School New North Poets Scheme
Michael’s work has been published widely including in The Rialto, Butchers Dog, Lighthouse Journal, Other Poetry, Crannog, The Moth, South Bank Poetry, Envoi, The North, Brittle Star, New Walk and The Interpreter’s House. He was selected for the Advanced Arvon by Carol Ann Duffy and Gillian Clarke in 2013. In 2014 he won the Untold London Competition with his poem, ‘From Hungerford Bridge, Looking East’. He was shortlisted for the Bare Fiction Collection prize judged by Andrew McMillan in 2015. He was placed third in the York Poetry Prize, 2015, with the poem Water Lilies and recently collaborated with the Liverpool poet Maria Isakova-Bennett in projects at the Walker Gallery and Open Eye Gallery. In 2017 his poem ‘The Waiting Room’ was shortlisted in the Basil Bunting Award judged by Ahren Warner. The pamphlet, Undersong (2014) is available from Eyewear Publishing. His most recent pamphlet, Locations for a Soul appeared in 2016 from Templar Publishing. He is currently working towards his first poetry collection.
Jasmine Chatfield is a writer and poet based in Manchester. She produces and co-hosts monthly experimental live literature cabaret event FLIM NITE and makes zines with Stirred feminist poetry collective. She has performed spoken word and theatre at The Royal Exchange, Manchester Art Gallery and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. She studied undergraduate English Literature at Lancaster University. Her poems and stories have appeared in magazines and anthologies such as Neon, NOUS and The Cadaverine.
Elizabeth Gibson is a Masters student at the University of Manchester and a member of The Writing Squad. Her poetry and fiction have appeared in a number of journals such as Cake, Antiphon, Far Off Places, The Poetry Shed, London Journal of Fiction, Gigantic Sequins and Ink, Sweat and Tears. In 2016 she was awarded Second Prize in The Poetry Society’s Timothy Corsellis Prize for her poem ‘Barthelasse’, set in WWII France. Elizabeth edits the Word Life section of Now Then Manchester, providing details of upcoming literary events in the city and curating a new set of creative writing every month. She also has her own online magazine, Foxglove Journal, which aims to showcase excellent poetry and short fiction. She is a reviewer for The Cadaverine and Structo and has been a Digital Reporter for Manchester Literature Festival. Elizabeth tweets at @Grizonne and blogs at http://elizabethgibsonwriter.blogspot.co.uk
Maria Isakova-Bennett lives in Liverpool where she works on a number of art and writing projects, and for North End Writers and Mersey Care. She has an MA (distinction) in Creative Writing from Lancaster University, a Masters degree in Education from Liverpool University, and postgraduate qualifications in Fine Art and Art History. She has poetry and reviews widely published in the UK and Ireland, wrote and performed ‘The Ferry on the Mersey’ in partnership with the BBC, as their Merseyside poet for the 2016 National Poetry Day festival, and appeared in Eyewear’s anthology of The Best New British and Irish Poets, 2016. Over the past year, Maria has been highly commended for her own and collaborative work in several pamphlet competitions, and has been shortlisted and placed in several International Competitions including Bridport, Keats-Shelley, Cinnamon Prizes, Plough and Mslexia. Maria was highly commended by John Glenday in the Wigtown Poetry Competition, has been awarded first prize in the Ver Open Poetry Award, and commended last year by Andrew McMillan in the same competition. Maria collaborates with poet Michael Brown on projects in galleries on Merseyside and they have recently launched a limited edition stitched poetry journal, Coast to Coast to Coast.
Rosa Walling-Wefelmeyer’s poetry has appeared in, amongst other things, The American Aesthetic and The Minnesota Review and has been performed and commended at, for example, Durham Book Festival, Leeds University and the UK’s Young Poets’ Network. A small collection of Rosa’s work was long-listed for the 2016 Cinnamon Press Debut Poetry Collection Prize.
Clare Swift Short Story Award
Anton Rose grew up in Durham, and after going away for university he returned to pursue a PhD, finishing in 2015. His wife, Beth, is also from Durham, and you can often find them nosing through the region’s bookshops or walking along the Northumberland coast with their dog. Anton writes fiction and poetry, and his work has appeared in a number of print and online journals, including Apex, The Rialto, and Terraform. He is also a 2017 Writers of the Future winner. In addition to writing, Anton reads submissions for Firewords Quarterly, a literary journal founded in the North East, and he co-edits Unlost, an online journal for found poetry. He is currently working on a novel. Find him at antonrose.com or @antonjrose
Northumbria University Student and Alumni Award
Heather Askwith is a writer of twisty YA fantasy, inspired by her love of puzzles. She received a Distinction for her Masters in Creative Writing from Northumbria University.
The Literary Consultancy New Fiction Reads
Laura Bui is an expat criminologist. Her research on developmental crime prevention has been published in scholarly journals in criminology and psychology. She is also the winner of Writing on the Wall’s 2017 Pulp Idol competition. The art of fiction interested her from a young age; early influences included Kazuo Ishiguro’s Remains of the Day and Louis Sachar’s Wayside School series. Some of her favourite novelists are Yiyun Li, Anne Tyler, and David Nicholls. She lives in Liverpool with her husband Daniel.
Tawseef Khan is a solicitor and activist specialising in refugee law. He recently completed a PhD from the University of Liverpool, where his research examined the experiences of lesbian, gay and bisexual refugees in the UK. He adores the writing of Toni Morrison, RuPaul’s Drag Race and electronic music.
Karen left school at 16 and worked in aimless fashion for a number of years before getting herself together enough to take A levels at evening classes. She was then lucky enough to gain a place to read English at Lucy Cavendish College, the only all-female college for mature students at Cambridge University, and life improved exponentially.
Karen has always written in one form or another, but did not attempt a novel until she was in her thirties and at home looking after her young daughter. This first novel, Catching the Light, was followed by another contemporary women’s fiction title, If Susie said Jump. She then changed tack and attempted a historical fiction novel set in Ancient Rome, a period and city which particularly interest her. The research for the The Will of Augustus was sound but, despite many edits, the novel didn’t quite work in the end. Her most recent novel The River, marks a fresh start and a return to the modern world, although the framework of the story refers back to the plot of Hamlet.
Karen lives in York with her family. She works at York Minster.
Andrea Badenoch Fiction Award
Karon has always loved children’s fiction. Interested in history and the lost and misremembered stories of place, she’s drawn to timeslip stories. She won the Andrea Badenoch Award 2017 and a Northern Promise Award 2012 for YA novels (unpublished). She believes in enjoying the process and never giving up.
Her published short stories for adults include ‘A Yellow Dress on Yee Wo Street’, (Gutter 24, 2021) ‘A Stitch in Time’ (Under the, 2019) ‘The Bone Garden’ (Writer’s Forum, 2019) and ‘The Millionaire’s Wife’ (Moth Publishing, 2015). She is also working on a crime novel.
Karon was born in Essex, grew up on Anglesey and lives and works in Newcastle upon Tyne. She is a dyslexia specialist and teaches English to teens and adults, and adult creative writing in a small FE college. She’s a member of the Gosforth writing group.
‘I’m delighted to be given the Hachette Children’s Novel Award. It’s a great encouragement to keep writing and to never give up hope that someone will enjoy reading your work.’
Channel 4/Northumbria University Writing for Television Awards
Alex won the Northumbria University and Channel 4 Writing for Television Award in 2017 with her magical realist piece Below which was taken into further development with Bonafide Films for Channel 4. She went on to win the BBC Alfred Bradley Bursary Award in 2019 with her radio drama Poundland Vanilla Princess and is currently working on her first commission for BBC Radio 4.
Andrew Turner lives in Bolton and he has been writing for over ten years, primarily for theatre and radio. Writing provides him with much needed respite from his job as a Social Worker. In 2006 Andrew won 2nd Prize in the BBC Alfred Bradley Bursary Award and was in the final five for the BBC Writers Award 2015. Andrew was also runner-up in the Pint-Sized Plays 2016 and his award, a half-pint glass, takes pride of place on his windowsill. Andrew has had several stage plays performed in the annual Arundel Theatre Trail and he has also had plays broadcast live on local radio. Later this year Andrew will have his work performed at the Edinburgh Festival for the first time.
Cuckoo Young Writers Award
Winner: Eloise Unerman
Eloise Unerman, aged 17 from Rotherham, was the winner of the Cuckoo Young Writers Award 2017 for her selection of poetry.
Eloise is an ambitious young writer who has already published a poetry anthology! She has her own blog and regularly writes for her school newspaper as well as attending Rotherham Young Writers.
Eloise says “I write about anything that sparks me, from personal stories to things in the real world that have stayed with me. I like glimpses of real life, how people move through the world, and what home means to them (I think there’s beauty in unexpected places). I feel poetry allows me to put my finger on something I wouldn’t be able to express otherwise. I get a feeling of being full when something I write is ‘there’, like at the end of a poem.”
Highly commended: Grace Middleton
Grace Middleton has worked with us previously through a Young Writers’ City Project at Newcastle Sixth Form College so we were delighted when we found out Juno, the judge, had enjoyed her poetry so much. Grace is continuing to develop her writing through mentoring sessions with poet Stevie Ronnie.
Highly commended: Holly Cartwright
Our second highly commended young writer is Holly Cartwright, who is from York. Before entering the Cuckoo Award she won the 2016 H.G. Wells junior short story competition.
Matthew Hale Award
Julia is from Leeds and already an accomplished writer. She came runner up in the Yorkshire Post’s Creative Writing Competition and was described by author, Gervase Phinn, and the Education Correspondent as ‘outstanding’. She was chosen by Sir Alan Ayckbourn to have her play performed at an emerging writer’s event and has also been asked to sign a publishing contract in America in relation to a compilation of young emerging writers awards following the performance of her short play performed in Brooklyn.