Winners 2019

Northern Writers’ Awards for Poetry

  • Penny Boxall

    Penny Boxall grew up in Aberdeenshire and Yorkshire, and holds an MA with distinction from UEA. Ship of the Line, her debut collection, won the 2016 Edwin Morgan Poetry Award.

    Her poetry has appeared in The Sunday Times, The Rialto, Magma, The Dark Horse and The North. After spending August 2017 as writer-in-residence at Gladstone’s Library, she has held residencies at Hawthornden Castle (Midlothian), Chateau de Lavigny (Switzerland) and Cove Park (Argyll & Bute). She won the 2018 Mslexia/PBS Women’s Poetry Competition (judged by Carol Ann Duffy), the 2017 Bolton Poetry Competition, and the 2016 Elmet Prize.

  • Sam Buchan-Watts

    Sam Buchan-Watts has acted as Reviews Editor of Poetry London and is an editor of clinic press. His publications are Faber New Poets 15 and, with Lavinia Singer, Try To Be Better (Prototype, 2019), a creative-critical engagement with W. S. Graham. He is currently completing a PhD at the University of York, and in 2018 undertook an AHRC fellowship at the Yale Center for British Art. He won an Eric Gregory Award in 2016, and has published critical writing and/or poetry in Chicago ReviewPoetry Review and Test Centre magazine.

  • Rommi Smith

    Rommi Smith is a poet, theatre-maker and librettist who has held prestigious residencies for institutions ranging from the British Council to the BBC. Smith is the inaugural British Parliamentary Writer-in-Residence and inaugural Poet-in-Residence for Keats’ House, Hampstead. She served as British Council Poet-in-Residence at California State University, Los Angeles. Rommi Smith is a grateful recipient of a Northern Writers’ Award, Arts Council England Award, The Elizabeth George Award (the writing award for women funded by the crime writer, Elizabeth George) and a Hedgebrook Fellowship in the US.

Northern Writers' Awards for Fiction

  • Tara Guha

    Tara Guha was the winner of the Luke Bitmead Bursary 2014, one of the biggest UK prizes for unpublished novelists. Her debut novel, Untouchable Things, was released by Legend Press in 2015 and became a Kindle Bestseller. Tara is of dual Indian/British heritage and spent her childhood in the Ribble Valley, passing many a wet day writing poetry and music, before heading off to the dryer plains of Cambridge to study English. Her career path has been windy: from promoting artists such as Placido Domingo and Vanessa-Mae in the classical music industry, to promoting race relations for Greater Manchester Police in Salford. But writing has been a constant companion, initially in the form of performance poetry and freelance journalism, published in various national music magazines. After coming runner- up in a memoir competition for Psychologies magazine, Tara decided to try her hand at novel writing. Juggling the competing demands of parenthood and work meant that her first novel took longer than expected, but she hopes that her second book, aided by a Northern Writers’ Award, will see the light of day a little more quickly.

Hachette Children's Novel Award

  • James Harris

    James Harris is a writer, filmmaker, performer, pole-vaulter, wizard and exaggerator based in Middlesbrough. He is a mentor and workshop leader for Writers’ Block North East, a Teesside creative writing and development service. He’s made short films, sketches and animations for the BBC and Channel 4, and he sometimes performs live comedy with his friends. He’s enjoyed being occasionally shortlisted for things since 2004, but he’s never won anything until now.

NorthBound Book Award

  • Juliana 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.

New North Poets Programme

  • Penny Newell

    Penny Newell’s poems or articles have appeared in The TLS, Lambda Literary, Magma, Hobart, Cordite 88:TRANSQUEER, The Portland Review (Pushcart Prize 2019 nominated), 3:AM, The Southampton Review and The Cardiff Review, amongst others. She has worked as a writer for the British Red Cross, and her major writing commissions and fellowships include Utopia 2016 Festival, Lakes Ignite 2018 and Poetry Fellow of the Paris American Academy. In Autumn 2019, she will become a Supported Artist of Art Lab Contemporary Print Studio at the University of Central Lancashire. She has a PhD from King’s College London and now lives in Leeds in the UK.
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  • Freya Jackson

    Freya Jackson is a writer from Leeds. Her poetry has previously been published in places including Magma, Arc Magazine, The Cadaverine and The Interpreter’s House. Her poem ‘Cowardice’ was Ink Sweat and Tears’ poem of the month for August 2017. She was nominated for a Pushcart Prize by for her graphic short story ‘Joy’ in 2016. She has been involved in new writing nights in Leeds, Lewes and London. Her hyperlink poem ‘The Regan Project’ can be found at

  • Charlotte Wetton

    Charlotte Wetton is based in West Yorkshire. Her first pamphlet, I Refuse to Turn into a Hat-Stand, won the Michael Marks Awards 2017, following a spoken word album, Body Politic. She has been published in Poetry Wales, Staple, and Stand. She regularly performs around the North, and has performed at Aldburgh, Ledbury, and took second place at the StAnza Slam.

  • Sarah Wimbush

    Born in Doncaster and now living near Leeds, Sarah Wimbush’s poetry is rooted in Yorkshire with tales of childhood and family, colliery villages, and Gypsies and Travellers. In 2016 she won the Mslexia and Red Shed Poetry Competitions. Since then she has been shortlisted in the Poetry Business Pamphlet Competition, the Keats-Shelley Prize, the Rialto Nature and Place Competition and the Fish Poetry Prize. She was also recently longlisted in the National Poetry Competition and the Alpine Fellowship Writing Prize. Her poems have appeared in poetry magazines and anthologies and she is a member of York Stanza run by Carole Bromley.

Northern Debut Awards

  • Catharine Johnson

    Catharine Johnson spent her childhood curled up with a book under her father’s desk, in school libraries in Malaysia and Kent. She spent 25 years as a doctor, in jobs with the Navy, the RAF, the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, and the NHS, including 18 years as a GP in Cumbria. Forced to give up medicine because of the illness Lupus, she seized the opportunity to return to her first love and develop her writing. She is working on a mythology-inspired YA novel, set on a Lake District hill farm.

    Catharine has a PGC in Creative Writing from Newcastle University, and is a member of the Mungrisdale Writers’ Group, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), and the Golden Egg Academy. She lives with her Sri Lankan husband in the Lake District village where she once practised as a single-handed GP. She can be found on twitter @dadslibrary.

  • Jane Bradley

    Jane Bradley is a queer working-class writer and performer, based in Manchester. Her short fiction has been published in various literary journals and anthologies, and her debut play, The Curse, was supported by Arts Council England. She has performed her writing at literary festivals and live events across the UK, including at Edinburgh Fringe, Royal Albert Hall, Royal Exchange and Polari Literary Salon.

    Jane is also the founder and co-director of For Books’ Sake, the non-profit championing women and non-binary writers, and the host of monthly spoken word night, That’s What She Said. The Summer Everything Happened is her first novel.

  • Leigh Goodall

    Leigh Goodall was born and raised in Kirkby, a small town on the edge of Liverpool, and has been writing for as long as she can remember. After graduating with a degree in Creative Writing from Edge Hill University in 2015, Leigh went on to study an MA in Creative Writing a year later. During her time on the MA, she won the Edge Hill Short Story Prize (MA category) 2017 for her short story titled ‘Maureen’. Leigh lives in Kirkby with her fiancé Seamus and their four-year-old daughter Eden. She is working towards completing her first short story collection and has the intent to start writing her first novel firmly in her notebook.

TLC Free Reads Scheme

  • Eirinie Lapidaki

    Eirinie Lapidaki was born in the North East of England. She has been writing short stories since she was a child. Her love of reading led her to achieve an undergraduate MA in English Literature from the University of St Andrews in 2017, and she went on to graduate from Newcastle University with an MLitt in Victorian Literature in 2018. Since then, Eirinie has supplemented her writing with full time work, and is currently writing her first full-length novel. The TLC Free Reads award is her first nomination for a literary prize. Eirinie was also shortlisted for the Northern Debut Awards Programme.

  • Shaun Wilson

    Shaun Wilson was born in 1980 and raised in Wigton, Cumbria. He recently completed an MA in creative writing at Northumbria University, winning the prize for ‘Best Postgraduate Student in Humanities’. In 2018 his debut novel, a work-in-progress, made the final of the Penguin Random House WriteNow programme. In 2019 it won a TLC Northern Writers’ Award and an excerpt was published in Kit de Waal’s Common People anthology. Later that year, following New Writing North’s Talent Party, Shaun signed up with Susan Smith at MBA Agents. He is currently researching autofiction as a PhD student at Northumbria University, having won a Research Development Fund studentship in 2020, and most recently a Northern Bridge Consortium studentship in 2021. His debut novel is almost complete.

  • Julie Noble

    Julie Noble is a working-class writer who lives in North-East Yorkshire with her two youngest children- the three older ones have homes of their own. She is one of Kit De Waal’s ‘Common People’, a Moniack Mhor Two Roads recipient and Penguin WriteNow longlisted. Her short fiction has won short story competitions including the Writing Magazine Jane Austen Alternative Ending competition in 2017 and She Magazine (2010). A participant in the New Writing North Working Class Writer Development Programme, Julie is editing her novel Venice Calling and also planning the next book. Inspired by the Significant Ink Course in Middlesbrough in 2016, she has also written a stage play, a TV script and an audio play. Julie’s writing has appeared in Mslexia several times and in various collections over the years. She enjoys encouraging others to write, especially those challenged by dyslexia, which her eldest son has had to battle with. Talli’s Secret, a YA book self-published in 2004, reflects these challenges. It was written to highlight issues of dyspraxia and dyslexia in the classroom.

Sid Chaplin Award

  • Winner: Lyndsey Skinner

    Lyndsey Skinner is a writer from Gateshead. Alongside a full-time job as a TV Subtitler, she is currently working on her first novel, Snowflake, which explores what it means to be a working-class Millennial. Lyndsey was runner up for Northern Soul’s Northern Writer of the Year Award 2018, a mentee on the Scottish Review of Books’ Emerging Critics programme and a shortlisted critic for the Anthony Burgess/Observer award for new arts journalism, 2017. She currently lives in Newcastle.

  • Highly Commended: Christopher Fallow

Northumbria University Award

  • Allison Adkins

    Writing has always been a hobby, but it wasn’t until she was on maternity leave that Allison felt she could develop her interest. She took a part-time course with the Open University in Creative Writing, involving writing a short story for a woman’s magazine audience. Since then, her work has appeared in local and national publications.

    When her children started school and daycare, Allison looked into finishing her degree with Northumbria University and her ambition to write a novel began to resurface. Developing techniques and learning how to write a substantial piece of work has allowed Allison to begin development of her first novel Human Farm.

Channel 4 Writing for Television Awards

  • Adam Bennett-Lea

    Since graduating from Liverpool Screen School’s Screenwriting MA, Adam has been a part of Royal Exchange Theatre’s Young Writers programme, had several scratch comedy productions staged regionally, and co-created the comic-book series Queer Tales. Having grown up in Warrington, a town with few creative opportunities, Adam is committed to giving a voice to those who don’t usually see their stories told on screen.

  • Joshua Halm

    Joshua Halm was born and bred in Cheshire. He recently graduated with a first class honors degree in Creative Writing from Manchester Metropolitan University, specialising in script work and has spent the last year working in a mentor capacity on this course. Working alongside his studies as a hairdresser, Joshua’s interest in ordinary people and their lives has informed his writing immensely. He likes to craft real stories around real people. Joshua writes comedy, primarily, and expresses this with television scripts, movies and online videos. He attended the New Writing North roadshow in Manchester, somewhat last minute (actually snagging the final ticket) and was inspired by meeting previous winner, Jayshree Patel.

Word Factory Apprentice Award

  • Melissa Wan

    Melissa Wan (born 1991) is a writer from Manchester by way of Holland and Hong Kong. Her story ‘The Husband and the Wife Go to the Seaside’ was published by Bluemoose Books (2018) and will be reprinted in Salt’s Best British Stories 2019. Her work is often concerned with the life not lived, the uncanny, and feeling alone in relationships. She was awarded the inaugural Crowdfunded BAME Writers’ Scholarship 2028/19 to study Creative Writing at UEA, and is currently working on her first collection of stories.

Andrea Badenoch Fiction Award

  • Sarah Corbett

    Sarah Corbett won the Andrea Badenoch Award in 2019 for her first novel, now titled The Trouble with Jo, and she’s currently working on a second. She is now represented by Gordon Wise at Curtis Brown Creative. She’s a widely regarded, prize-winning poet, and has been shortlisted for the Forward and T.S. Eliot prizes. Her fifth collection of poems, A Perfect Mirror (Pavilion Poetry, 2018), was highly commended in the Forward Poetry Prizes. She teaches Creative Writing for Lancaster University and lives in Hebden Bridge.

Arvon Award

  • Sarah Dunnakey

    Sarah Dunnakey is a short story writer and novelist. Her debut novel The Companion was published by Orion in 2017. She won a Northern Writers’ Award in 2014 and The Companion was a Read Regional book for 2018. She has had short fiction published in anthologies and magazines and her story ‘The Marzipan Husband’, was broadcast on BBC Radio 4.

    After brief stints as a college librarian, an education officer and an NHS researcher, Sarah landed her dream job as a Question Researcher on Mastermind. She now writes and verifies the questions for several TV shows including University Challenge and Pointless. Her work, especially researching the Specialist Subjects on Mastermind, has been a rich source of ideas for her writing.

    Sarah is originally from Teesside but now lives in West Yorkshire.

Young Northern Writer Award

  • Winner: Ciah White

    Ciah White is a young poet from South Yorkshire who attends Doncaster Young Writers. Ciah’s involvement with the Hive network has allowed her to spend time writing and improve her poetry over the last year. She’s read at Hive young writer events and Sheaf Poetry Festival in Sheffield. She is currently finishing her A-levels and hopes to pursue writing as a career in the future.

  • Highly Commended: Lauren Hollingsworth-Smith

    Rotherham-based writer, Lauren Hollingsworth-Smith (17), has always had a love for creative writing. She completed her first collection of ‘short prose’ at age 4 (Lauren’s Fairytales) and hasn’t stopped writing since! She has performed her work at open mics and had it published in anthologies from her writing group, Hive South Yorkshire. Lauren is also a creative writing mentor at the children’s literary charity, Grimm & Co, where she helps to pass on her love of language onto the next generation.

Matthew Hale Award

  • Matthew Schofield

    Matthew Schofield has been singing for as long as he can remember. Inspired by the great rappers from the global stage such as Eminem and Logic, Matthew started listening to hip-hop four years ago.

    Matthew has been working with the New Writing North project Young Writers’ City at Excelsior since shortly after he returned from Australia three years ago. Matthew credits local hip-hop star and actor, Kema Kay, for inspiring him to pick up the pen (or more accurately notes on his phone) and create his own tracks and to tell his own story. Kema has been mentoring Matthew at New Writing North’s Young Songwriting Group since autumn 2018 and together they have begun producing his first E.P.