Ian McMillan with Zaffar Kunial Cuckoo writer Hazel Atkinson Ian McMillan with Carolyn Jess-Cooke Slide 5

Northern Writers’ Awards 2014

19 writers from across the North of England share £40,000 prize fund as Northumbria University confirm continued support

The 19 winners of the Northern Writers’ Awards 2014 were announced on Tuesday 17 June at the official ceremony in Newcastle upon Tyne.

This year’s winners highlight the breadth of talent coming from the North of England. “I’m confident that these winning poets are in a position to make a real impact on poetry in Britain,” said judge Jean Sprackland. “Awards like this can make a powerful difference, and it’s a joy to be able to support poets at different stages in their writing lives.”

One of the young poetry winners, Andrew McMillan, has been snapped up by Jonathan Cape publishers since he applied for an award, and fellow winner Kim Moore has had a lot of interest from publishers in recent weeks. Another winner, Phoebe Power, is just 21, and is currently sitting her finals at university.

This year also saw the first ever Cuckoo Young Writers prize being awarded for writers aged 15 – 18 from the North. This year’s award, which is entirely funded by public donations, went to Jasmine Simms, from Halifax. She is just 18 years old and sitting her A Levels. The judge, journalist and novelist Elizabeth Day, said of her work:

“Jasmine is a writer of extraordinary power.  Her poems are lyrically precise, clear-sighted and truthful. I'm amazed at how much talent she has for someone so young.”

Elizabeth awarded a further four young writers with a special commendation, commenting:

“What hope it gives me for the future! I basically forgot I was reading the work of teenagers – their writing was so fluent, so well-crafted and so engrossing that it was incredibly hard to choose between them.”

The awards, which have been running since 2000, were created and are managed by New Writing North, the writing development agency for the North of England. They reward writers whose work shows exceptional promise and support the development of their writing careers. Writers from across the North of England are able to apply for cash prizes and bursaries, for in-depth literary critiques for their works-in-development, and residential creative writing courses with Arvon.  

Winners are also invited to attend a publishing industry networking event hosted by New Writing North in London where the writers get to pitch their work to top literary agents and editors.

Initially only available to writers in the North East of England, the Northern Writers’ Awards opened up to writers from across the North for the 2013 intake, which led to over three times as many submissions this year and last.

“The Northern Writers’ Awards offer a unique package of cash, support and introductions that has seen many writers go on to achieve book deals, residencies and commissions,  said Anna Disley, acting chief executive of New Writing North. “We have achieved a real reputation amongst publishers and cultural organisations as talent spotters, so winning an award can open doors for promising writers.

“The core of the publishing industry remains focused in and on London, and so part of our awards scheme is to take the writers to those key agents and editors.”

Key partners for New Writing North in making the awards happen are Arts Council, England and Northumbria University.  2014 is the third year that the awards have been supported by Northumbria University and New Writing North is delighted that the university has confirmed its ongoing support for the awards in 2015.

The partnership is based on the organisations’ shared aims, which are to identify and develop talent; to connect talent to industry; and to connect researchers to writers and the wider public.

Recent initiatives include co-delivery of a module on the business of writing for undergraduates featuring top agents, publishers and writers; Crime Story, a festival for crime writers and readers; and a joint publication featuring writer Michael Chaplin’s and Professor Keith Shaw’s enquiry about the distinctiveness of the North East to be presented at Durham Book Festival 2014.

“The Northern Writers’ Awards are at the heart of our partnership with New Writing North, demonstrating our shared commitment to celebrating and nurturing creative talent in the region,” said Lucy Winskell, Pro Vice Chancellor Business and Engagement at Northumbria University. “As our partnership has grown, we have been able to co-produce inspirational programmes and creative opportunities that enable us to make new connections, share expertise and support innovative research. 

Our work with New Writing North is an excellent example of a research-rich, business-focused partnership that brings together two like-minded organisations to combine resources, develop creative expertise and talent, and achieve our shared aims.”

Potts Print (UK) are also project sponsors, and enable the awards publicity to become carbon neutral.

For a full list of winners, see www.northernwritersawards.com/news-northern-writers-awards-winners-2014-announced-details-22.html.

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Northern Writers’ Awards winners 2014 announced

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Northern Writers’ Awards winners 2014 announced
The 19 winners of the Northern Writers’ Awards 2014 were announced on Tuesday 17 June at the official ceremony in Newcastle upon Tyne. This year’s winners highlight the breadth of talent coming from the North of England. “Awards like this can make a powerful difference, and it’s a joy to be able to support poets at different stages in their writing lives,” said judge Jean Sprackland. Read more

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New Writing North announces Northern Writers’ Awards 2013 winners
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31 May 2013
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Niel Bushnell

Niel Bushnell is a writer and artist from Hartlepool. His first novel, a children’s fantasy adventure called Sorrowline, won a Northern Promise award at the Northern Writers Awards 2011. The award helped clinch a two-book publishing deal with Andersen Press for Sorrowline and its sequel, Timesmith.  Read more

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