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27 writers share £47,000 worth of awards at Northern Writers’ Awards

9th July 2021

The winners of the 2021 Northern Writers' Awards, sposored by Northumbria University, have been announced this week, with 27 writers receiving awards worth over £46,000 to enable their new writing in progress, across forms including prose, poetry and television.

This year almost 2,000 writers from across the North entered the awards, a record-breaking number of applicants for England’s largest writer development programme. 

Founded by New Writing North in 2000, the Northern Writers’ Awards exist to recognise talent and foster new work towards publication or broadcast, offering support to writers at all stages of their careers, including mentoring, developmental opportunities and cash awards to buy time to write.

Based in Newcastle upon Tyne, New Writing North celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2021 and champions writers and readers through a diverse range of projects, including the recently-announced A Writing Chance initiative with Michael Sheen.

The Northern Writers’ Awards are sponsored by headline supporters Arts Council England and Northumbria University along with a host of publishing, media and higher education partners including Channel 4, Hachette Children’s Group and the University of York.

Professor Katy Shaw, Professor of Contemporary Writings and Faculty Director of Partnerships at Northumbria University, said: “For more than a decade, Northumbria has been the proud sponsor of The Northern Writers’ Awards, which profiles the best new talent in writing from our wonderful North of England.

"Our sponsorship of this year’s awards comes at a particularly special time. The events of the last year have made us acutely aware of how much we rely on writing – in novels and plays, and on tv and film – for our entertainment and wellbeing and to bring us together in shared experiences at times when we are physically far apart.

"Today, we need culture and the arts more than ever. This year's Northern Writers’ Awards winners show how the next generation of creative talent has the potential to help us re-frame a post-pandemic world and better understand ourselves and our society.

"We look forward to following their writing and careers in the years ahead and offer our warmest congratulations and elbow bumps to all the winners of 2021.”

Judges for this year’s awards included the writers Cathy Rentzenbrink and Jacob Ross, who judged fiction and narrative non-fiction categories, and poet Andrew McMillan, a previous Northern Writers’ Award winner for his debut poetry collection, physical, who judged the poetry categories.

The Northern Writers’ Awards have an unrivalled reputation for identifying some of the country’s best unpublished writing. 2021 has already seen several acclaimed titles published by previous Northern Writers’ Awards winners, including The Biscuit Factory by James Harris (Hachette Children’s Group), The Muslim Problem by Tawseef Khan (Atlantic); The Lightning Catcher by Clare Weze (Bloomsbury Children’s); Diamond Hill  by Kit Fan (Dialogue); and Castles from Cobwebs by J.A. Mensah (Saraband).

Other previous winners include the crime writers CJ Cooke and Mari Hannah; short story writers Carys Davies and Angela Readman; and poets Phoebe Power and Vidyan Ravinthiran.

The awards also support aspiring television writers through a successful partnership with Channel 4 which is now an established pipeline into writing for television and has discovered new writers including Jayshree Patel, Taiba Amla and Luke Delaney.

The 2021 Northern Writers’ Awards in full

Hachette Children’s Novel Award

Andy Ruffell - Harrogate

NorthBound Book Award

Adam Farrer – Manchester

Channel 4 Writing for Television Awards – Bonafide Films

KB Jacobs – Stockton on Tees

Channel 4 Writing for Television Awards – Lime Pictures

Lucy Burke - Manchester

Northern Writers’ Awards for Fiction and Narrative Non-Fiction

CD Rose – Calderdale

Patricia Grace King - Durham

Northern Writers’ Awards for Poetry

Harry Man – Middlesbrough

Suzannah Evans – Sheffield

Northern Debut Awards for Fiction

Gareth Hewitt – Ormskirk

Sarah Brooks - Leeds

Rob Schofield – North Yorkshire

Andrea Badenoch Fiction Award

Harminder Kaur - Hull

Northern Debut Awards for Poetry

Amelia Loulli – Penrith

Jade Cuttle – Doncaster

Katie Hale – Penrith

The Sid Chaplin Award

Gary Evans – North Shields (winner)

Greg Forrester – Sunderland (highly commended)

Northumbria University Student and Alumni Award

Shaun Wilson - Cumbria

The Word Factory Award

Amy Stewart - York

TLC Free Reads Scheme

Katharine Goda - Durham

M.B. Shah – Bradford

Arvon Award

Sarah Corbett – Hebden Bridge

Young Northern Writer Award

Megumi Hoshiko – Wirral (winner, Year 7-9)

Lily Tibbitts – Amble (winner, Year 10+)

Connie Schoales – Northumberland (highly commended, Year 7-9)

Jennifer Mabbott – Manchester (highly commended, Year 10+)

Matthew Hale Award

Lacey Williamson – Barnsley

Will Mackie, Senior Programme Manager (Writing and Awards) at New Writing North, said: “We’re thrilled to announce the winners of the 2021 Northern Writers’ Awards and look forward to supporting these writers through the varied elements of our programme. Our nurturing approach to working with writers gives them the opportunity to enrich their craft and make meaningful connections to the publishing and broadcasting industries. The Awards have an extraordinary track record of not only identifying talented writers based in the North but also of helping to develop work-in-progress into exciting and adventurous finished books.

"We are massively grateful to our partners for their continued support. Each one of them contributes to deepening and diversifying the rich portfolio of opportunities that we offer. We believe strongly that collaborations between the literature sector, publishers and broadcasters are needed more than ever in such uncertain and challenging times.”

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