Winners 2018

Northern Book Prize

  • Amy Arnold

    Amy has lived in various locations but finally settled in Cumbria in 2016. She can often be spotted running on the fells with her border collie. She has tried her hand at everything from swede packing to lecturing in Psychology and is an inveterate reader of mind-blowing literature, irrespective of which corner of the globe it hails from. Slip of a Fish is her first novel.

Northern Writers' Award for Fiction

  • Dima Alzayat

    Dima Alzayat was born in Damascus, Syria, grew up in San Jose, California, and now lives in Manchester. She was the winner of the 2017 Bristol Short Story Prize and the 2015 Bernice Slote Award, runner-up in the 2018 Deborah Rogers Award and the Zoetrope: All-Story Competition, and was Highly Commended in the 2013 Bridport Prize. Her short story In the Land of Kan’an was included in artist Jenny Holzer’s projection For Aarhus and was part of Holzer’s 2017 exhibition at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art.

  • Kit Fan

    Kit Fan is a poet, novelist and critic. His first book of poems, Paper Scissors Stone (2011), won the inaugural HKU International Poetry Prize. As Slow As Possible (2018) was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation and one of the Irish Times Books of the Year. He was shortlisted twice for the Guardian 4th Estate BAME Short Story Prize. He has also won a Northern Writers’ Award for Fiction, the Times Stephen Spender Poetry Translation Prize, and a Poetry Editors’ Prize for Reviewing. His debut novel is Diamond Hill (2021).

    I’m incredibly honoured to be awarded this year’s Northern Writers’ Award for Poetry for my next collection The Ink Cloud Reader. It means the world to me that my poems speak to this year’s judge Helen Mort, a poet I deeply admire. I can’t distinguish what is more important to me – being a poet or a resident in the north of England, as both forces have changed my life fundamentally and temperamentally. Thank you, New Writing North for supporting my writing, and Helen Mort and readers of the prize entries for recognising my poems.

  • Lucie Brownlee

    Lucie Brownlee is a writer, researcher and creative-writing tutor. She lives in County Durham with her daughter and embarrassingly disobedient dog, Brucie. Her memoir, Life After You, was published in 2014 by Virgin Books. Currently under development with Ecosse films, it is a Sunday Times bestseller and was a Richard and Judy Autumn Book Club pick.

    Wife After Death, Lucie’s blog about losing her young husband Mark, won Best Personal Blog in the Blog North Awards 2013. Her short stories have been shortlisted in two international competitions and she has published many articles, including for the Independent and the Telegraph.

    Lucie has recently completed her PhD in Creative Writing at Newcastle University. She is currently working on a writing commission with New Writing North and Durham Book Festival, based on the centenary of women’s suffrage.

Northern Writers' Award for Children's And Young Adult Fiction

  • Edward Baker

    Edward Baker started his working life on a maggot farm and it was all downhill from there. Inspired by a remarkable drama teacher, he put pen to paper, in days when such existed and wrote a screenplay with a cast of thousands – mainly insects about said events – which won a development grant, and a C4 pilot that almost got the green light. But after that it was rejection after rejection and it seemed that what was good enough for him wasn’t that good at all. Now, officially a geriatric, he was on the verge of giving up, when his artist wife of forever and before, gently encouraged him to get out there again. (Probably on the basis that some other unfortunate should have to endure the interminable sagas, ideas and concepts as well.)

    The winning of a Northern Writers’ Award is thus less a discovery than an archaeological dig. Whether or not the world should be grateful or appalled remains to be seen…

  • Emma lives in Stockport with her husband and son. She grew up in London and Yorkshire and is from a mixed-race Indian and English background. She has worked across theatre, digital and broadcast media and currently works for BBC Children’s InHouse Productions as a senior producer of interactive drama content. Emma has combined her writing life with work as a producer, facilitator and director. She also trained and worked as an actor and is a workshop facilitator, working frequently with and for children and young people in theatre, digital and broadcast contexts.

    Some of Emma’s work and creative achievements include: being lead artist, director and editor of The Shakespeare Project in 2017 (an Arts Council funded Shakespeare-meets-grime performance project); creating, producing, writing and working as facilitator on the tour of #ChipShoptheMusical in 2016 (a Yorkshire-brass-meets-UK-grime musical which toured northern fish and chip restaurants and was co-produced with Freedom Studios and Octagon Theatre Bolton); writing and directing Each Day I Live for Dark Horse Theatre; completing a BBC Performing Arts Fund Digital Story Fellowship in 2015 at Z-arts in Manchester; completing Street Voices 4 with Freedom Studios, when her short play, Tiger, was staged on a short tour of Yorkshire venues; participating in a number of writer-development schemes including First Words (Tutti Frutti Productions), Writers’ Lab @ Bolton and So You Want to be a Writer (West Yorkshire Playhouse).

    Emma has also worked for digital and broadcast companies as a writer, editor and producer of digital and interactive content, working on a number of high-profile projects for companies including: BBC; Channel 4; Granada Media; Discovery Networks; The Telegraph; The NHS.

    Most of all, Emma loves telling stories and she has spent her life finding paid (and unpaid) ways to tell as many stories as possible.

  • Jennifer Lane

    Jennifer Lane graduated from her MA Writing for Children in 2012 and has never stopped writing. She is a freelance magazine writer specialising in children’s and nature writing, with her work being featured in a wide and varied selection of publications including Vogue, The Week Junior and CBeebies Magazine. Her YA novella Break was published by Badger Learning in 2017.

    Born and bred in Rainhill, close to St Helens, Merseyside, she went on to study English Literature with Creative Writing at the University of Central Lancashire before deciding to specialise in her Master’s programme. She has since worked as a librarian, a copywriter and a magazine editor; however she took a small break from writing to pursue a career in nature conservation with the RSPB.

    She has always known she wanted to write for children and her ambition is to write books that young people really connect with, with a particular focus on mental-health awareness. Jennifer lives in Manchester where she works in Communications and lives with her partner and calico cat. She is a keen animal-rights advocate, hiker and birdwatcher.

Northern Writers' Awards for Poetry

  • Elizabeth Barrett

    Elizabeth Barrett’s poems have been widely published in magazines and anthologies. Her collections include Walking on Tiptoe (Staple, 1998), The Bat Detector (Wrecking Ball Press, 2005) and A Dart of Green and Blue (Arc Publications, 2010). One of Elizabeth’s key preoccupations, in these collections, is her life as carer of a severely disabled son. In her new manuscript, Fall, Elizabeth continues to explore the impact of motherhood on identity. Here, however, her subject is the sudden and unexplained disappearance of a daughter.

    Elizabeth has worked as a creative writing tutor in adult and higher education and has been writer-in-residence in schools, community organisations, local radio and a prison. She has participated in cross-artform projects including collaborations with the painter John Brokenshire and the violist Robin Ireland, who composed original music to accompany the title sequence of poems from Elizabeth’s second collection, The Bat Detector. Between 2000 and 2005 Elizabeth was co-editor of Staple Magazine and in 2000 she was the recipient of an Arts Council of England Writer’s Award.

    Elizabeth lives in Sheffield where she works as a University Lecturer in Education. As well as a poet and educator, Elizabeth advocates for her autistic son. She blogs at:

  • Lindsey Holland

    Lindsey Holland is a poet, editor and tutor with two published pamphlet collections, The Lanterns (Eyewear 2016) and Particle Soup (KFS 2012). She was shortlisted in the 2015 Manchester International Poetry Prize and was a 2016 Hawthornden fellow. In 2017 she won 3rd prize in the Troubadour Poetry Prize. She has also won prizes/commendations in the 2017 Mslexia Single Poem Competition, 2016 Troubadour Poetry Competition, and 2015 Wigtown, Café Writers and Much Wenlock Competitions. She is co-editor and designer of The Compass and founded the network North West Poets, for which she edited and published two anthologies, ‘Sculpted, Poetry of the North West’ and ‘Not on Our Green Belt’. She has a degree in English Literature from the University of Warwick and is an alumnus of the Warwick Writing Programme’s MA in Writing. While at Warwick, she worked as Events Organiser and tutor for Heaventree Press. She’s currently working a PhD in poetry whilst completing her first full-length collection: poems about contemporary human relationships, nature and ghosts.

  • Helen Mort

    Helen Mort was born in Sheffield. She joined the Department of English and Manchester Writing School as Lecturer in Creative Writing in September 2016, having previously been Derbyshire Poet Laureate, Wordsworth Trust Poet in Residence and a Douglas Caster Cultural Fellow at The University of Leeds. Helen has published two poetry collections with Chatto & Windus, Division Street (winner of the Fenton Aldeburgh Prize, shortlisted for the Costa Prize and T.S. Eliot Prize) and No Map Could Show Them (2016). Her pamphlet publications include The Singing Glacier with Hercules Editions in 2018, an account of a mountaineering expedition in East Greenland. Her first novel Black Car Burning is forthcoming in 2018. Her play Medusa toured with Proper Job Theatre Company in autumn 2017 and her short story collection Exire is forthcoming from Wrecking Ball. She has edited several anthologies including One For The Road: An Anthology of Pubs and Poetry (Smith Doorstop) with Stuart Maconie.

  • Eleanor Rees

    Eleanor Rees was born in Birkenhead, Merseyside. Her pamphlet collection Feeding Fire (Spout, 2001) received an Eric Gregory Award in 2002 and her first full length collection, Andraste’s Hair (Salt, 2007), was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection and the Glen Dimplex New Writer Award, Ireland. Her second collection Eliza and the Bear (Salt, 2009) was also a live performance for voice and harp. The indie band Eliza and the Bear are named after the book. Her third full-length collection is Blood Child (Liverpool University Press/Pavilion, 2015) and she has also published a long pamphlet, Riverine (Gatehouse Press, 2015).

  • Clare Shaw

    Clare Shaw has three poetry collections from Bloodaxe: Straight Ahead (2006), which attracted a Forward Prize Highly Commended for Best Single Poem; and Head On (2012), which is, according to the Times Literary Supplement ‘fierce … memorable and visceral’. Her third collection, Flood, was published in June 2018.

    Often addressing political and personal conflict, her poetry is fuelled by a strong conviction in the transformative and redemptive power of language. Clare is a Royal Literary Fellow, and a regular tutor for the Poetry School, the Wordsworth Trust and the Arvon Foundation. She is also a mental health trainer, activist and author: her publications include “Otis Doesn’t Scratch: talking to young children about self-injury” (PCCS Books, 2015); and “Our Encounters with Self-Harm” (2013). She is passionate about the meeting ground between poetry and mental wellbeing, and is the facilitator of the Poetry School’s international online course, “Poetry as Survival”.

    Clare’s most recent collection – Flood – offers an eye-witness account of the floods of 2013 and 2015.

Channel 4/Northumbria University Writing for Television Awards

  • Taiba Ahmad

    Having worked in public services for over 15 years, Taiba has recently moved across the Pennines from Lancashire. Taiba’s first short screenplay in 2016 was longlisted for Create 50’s international film contest The Impact. In 2017 Taiba was selected for New Writing North’s talent development programme Significant Ink. Driven by clichéd depictions, Taiba aims to reclaim the narrative with her writing.

  • Luke Delaney

    Luke is from Leeds but lives near Media City in Salford. He has a Master’s in Screenwriting from the University of Manchester and a bachelors in Media, Writing and Production from the University of Bolton. He enjoys writing and watching comedy in his spare time and is a lover of British soap operas. Luke is proud to be Northern and wouldn’t dream of living anywhere else.  Luke is a film and TV buff and is obsessed with storytelling and the craft of screenwriting. He is also a huge sci-fi fan and prides himself with a large collection of video-game consoles. A true geek who loves stories and is driven by finding a job like being a writer where he can thoroughly enjoy himself at work every day.

Northumbria University Student and Alumni Award

  • Laura Steven

    Laura Steven is an author, screenwriter and journalist from the northernmost town in England. The Exact Opposite of Okay, her ‘hilarious and poignant’ YA debut exploring slut-shaming and sexuality, was published by Egmont in 2018. Laura’s journalism has been featured in The i Paper, BuzzfeedThe Guardian and Living North. She has a BA in Journalism and an MA in Creative Writing from Northumbria University, and her TV pilot Clickbait – a mockumentary about journalists at a viral news agency – reached the final eight in British Comedy’s 2016 Sitcom Mission. As well as mentoring aspiring authors through schemes like Writing In The Margins and Pitch Wars, Laura works for Mslexia, a non-profit organisation supporting women writers.

Andrea Badenoch Fiction Award

  • Marian Smith

    Marian Smith grew up in Macclesfield. She has been writing stories in her head since she was a teenager but started committing them to paper about fifteen years ago. She joined a creative-writing class and is now secretary of a local writers’ group. Her main focus was performance poetry until fiction took a hold. She has attended two Arvon courses and has had short stories and poems published in her writers’ group anthologies and one story published online. Until 2017 Marian worked full time as a proposal manager for an IT company. She now works three days a week and is going to give up work in September to concentrate on writing. It has taken seven years to write Answers to Absolutely Every Question.  She is also working on a second novel.  She lives in Warrington with her husband, and when she’s not writing, she’s tracing her family history, learning to speak Greek and is still happy to perform her poetry to anyone who will listen.

TLC Free Reads Scheme

  • Rahila Hussain

    Rahila Hussain lives and works as a teacher in West Yorkshire. She has been teaching for over 15 years and is passionate about issues facing young people. She is the winner of the national cooking competition on ITV1, Food Glorious Food. Rahila is writing her first YA fiction aimed at exploring issues such as self-harm, child poverty, heritage and of course, cooking, and aims to complete this in 2019.

  • Danny Marshall

    Danny Marshall lives and works in Calderdale, West Yorkshire, and is heavily influenced by its dark valleys and vast moors. His writing blends crime with horror, and explores the impact of isolation on characters in these rural locations.

    In 2015 he was selected as a winner of New Writing North’s Northern Crime competition, with his short story subsequently published in Moth Publishing’s Northern Crime One. In 2016 he was chosen to pitch at Bloody Scotland, and in 2017 he was designated the top participant in a writing course with Curtis Brown Creative.

    Danny is currently working on his debut novel, Radio Silence, as well as its sequel – a macabre murder-mystery with a distinctly northern voice.

  • Caroline Murphy

    Caroline Murphy was born and brought up in Washington, Tyne and Wear. After studying English and French at the University of Warwick. She joined the Civil Service and headed to the Big Smoke. But she quit London for Hong Kong and found her niche as assistant editor of a home-interiors magazine. During a four-year stint back in London, she worked as a design magazine editor, freelance interiors journalist, and was commissioned to write a book about bathrooms, before returning to Asia – this time, for thirteen hot and humid years.

    Inspired by her own children, she began writing books three years ago, and polished her craft in a critique group of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

    Her third manuscript, The Truth About Chickens, was shortlisted for the Joan Aitken Future Classics Prize in 2017, her fourth, Totality, was awarded a TLC Free Read by the Northern Writers’ Awards, and her fifth work-in-progress, Joe and the Dark Unicorn, was shortlisted for the 2018 Winchester Writers’ Festival Funny Fiction Prize.

  • Dan Robinson

    Dan Robinson was born in Leeds in 1974. His debut novel is due for completion in 2019. His short fictions and art writing have been published by Ikon Gallery, Grizedale Arts and Ordinary Culture. He has been commissioned throughout the UK and France for art residencies and site-based projects. He went to art school at Universities of Newcastle upon Tyne and Leeds and, in 2018, is studying MA Creative & Life Writing at Goldsmiths. In 2016 he was longlisted for the David T.K. Wong Creative Writing Fellowship at University of East Anglia and shortlisted for a University of Leeds fellowship. In 2017 he did an Arvon fiction course and in 2018 he was shortlisted for the Northern Writers’ Word Factory Apprentice Award and has won a New Writing North TLC award.

    His current novel tells the story of a family’s journey of loss and connection in the year after the death of their newborn baby. Set in 2015, between Yorkshire and Colorado, a job in an archive of Japanese land-use contributes to an unfolding sense of time and place. Dan has taught in art schools in Camberwell, Chelsea, Leeds and France and in 2018 teaches at Open College of the Arts. He was awarded a PhD in site-specific art from University of Leeds in 2009 and became a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in 2015. He lives in Yorkshire with his family.

Arvon Award

  • Iain Rowan

    Iain Rowan grew up in Kent, but has lived in Sunderland for 27 years. He was first published at the age of ten, with a poem in a print anthology and broadcast on radio, but after many years of basking in this heady success decided it was really time to write something else. Since then he’s had over thirty short stories published, and has been shortlisted for the Crime Writers’ Association Debut Dagger, for the Bath Novel Award, and for the Northern Writers’ Award. Iain is working on a rewrite of a novel and the Arvon Award will fund a retreat which will be invaluable in creating intensive, uninterrupted time to immerse himself in that process.

    Iain is Director and founder of the month-long Sunderland Festival of Creative Writing which ran in 2016 and in 2018, and he founded the writers’ group Holmeside Writers, which has been running in Sunderland for over four years. Iain’s led some interesting collaborations between writers and the Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, has been a judge in each year of the Sunderland Shorts Film Festival, and was one of a group of writers invited to represent new British writing at the Zocalo International Book Fair in Mexico City.

Word Factory Apprentice Award

  • Sharon Telfer

    Sharon Telfer grew up on Teesside and now lives in East Yorkshire. Her creative writing took off in 2015 when she discovered flash fiction. Her flash fiction has since been widely published and has won prizes, including the Bath Flash Fiction Award. Her stories often have a loose historical setting and she’s influenced by magical realism and fairytale, where the strange and the everyday collide. She’s one of the editing team at FlashBack Fiction, an online litmag showcasing historical flash fiction. She sharpened her editing pen on non-fiction, working for many years in charity communications and now as a freelance editor. She’s looking forward to using her Apprenticeship to develop and deepen her understanding of the distinct demands of short stories and to meet other writers who love the form.

Cuckoo Young Writers Award

  • Allison Birt

    Allison Birt was born in 2000 and moved to Newcastle after growing up in Carlisle. She is currently studying A levels at Newcastle Sixth Form College, but in the future wants to persue a career in the arts. Allison only began writing poetry in 2018 after joining Northern Stage’s Young Company in October, where she felt inspired and encouraged to write. This has led to Allison becoming extremely passionate about writing poetry. Whilst Allison is only just starting her journey as a writer, she’d love to write her own play some day.

  • Dite Bagdonaite: highly commended

    Dite was born and raised in rural Lithuania, an appreciation of nature subsequently permeating her work. She moved to the UK at age 3, quickly picking up the language and developing a love for the written and spoken word. She lives in Liverpool and although she has been published in school magazines, the Cuckoo Young Writers Award was her first competitive venture.

  • Georgie Woodhead: highly commended

Matthew Hale Award

  • Scarlet Clayton

    Scarlet Clayton lives in Thornton, a village on the outskirts of Bradford. She has been writing as long as she can remember, ever since she first learnt how to write. A lot of things inspire her work, but there are two main things that always spark her imagination. One of them is the world going on around her, how she can relate to it and how she might be able to use her experiences as ideas for her writing. She also takes inspiration from authors because she loves to read.