Winners of the 2020 Society of Authors’ Awards

18 June 2020 Drag performer and screenwriter Amrou Al-Kadhi, playwright Inua Ellams, ‘Son of the Hebrides’ Donald S. Murray and illustrator Elena Arevalo Melville among Society of Authors’ Awards 2020 winners in a celebration of literature’s power to challenge inequality.   We are delighted to reveal the winning writers, poets and illustrators from across the…

18 June 2020

Drag performer and screenwriter Amrou Al-Kadhi, playwright Inua Ellams, ‘Son of the Hebrides’ Donald S. Murray and illustrator Elena Arevalo Melville among Society of Authors’ Awards 2020 winners in a celebration of literature’s power to challenge inequality.

 

We are delighted to reveal the winning writers, poets and illustrators from across the globe sharing this year’s Society of Authors’ Awards £100,000 prize fund. Showcasing storytelling as activism and literature as a catalyst for change, the winners tackled a range of hard-hitting subjects in their work including war, queer identity, race and the climate crisis.

Announced via video ceremony by the SoA’s Chair Joanne Harris, nine awards were presented to 32 authors, with emerging and established talent recognised across novels, short stories, poetry, non-fiction and a new accolade for illustrated children’s books, The Queen’s Knickers Award.

Uniquely judged by authors for authors, the list of winners includes: Trinidadian debut author and Desmond Elliot Prize winner Claire Adam (McKitterick Prize); drag troupe founder and writer of queer Muslim memoir Unicorn, Amrou Al-Kadhi (Somerset Maugham Award); Inua Ellams (Travelling Scholarships), poet, performer and playwright of National Theatre hit ‘Barbershop Chronicles’; Penguin Literary Prize winning Australian author Kathryn Hind (Betty Trask Prize); Guatemalan illustrator Elena Arevalo Melville (Queen’s Knickers Award); and acclaimed Hebridean poet and debut novelist Donald S. Murray (Paul Torday Memorial Prize), alongside fellow Scottish writer, the Shetland poet and musician Roseanne Watt who received two accolades today (the Eric Gregory and Somerset Maugham Awards).

Joanne Harris, Chair of the SoA’s Management Committee, says:

‘We’ve always said that receiving an SoA Award can be transformational for an author. They aren’t about promoting big corporate sponsors. They don’t seek out one big winner and say ‘this one’s best of all’. Each year, they reward the breadth and depth of books and words, and reward authors at the start of their careers as well as those well established.

‘This year, as the health crisis makes authors’ precarious careers even more of a challenge to sustain, it is more important than ever to celebrate the work of today’s 32 winners.

‘The nine Awards were judged as lockdown began. We announced the shortlists at the height of restrictions. And we’re celebrating today in videos and on social media, instead of with a crowd of five hundred at Southwark Cathedral. So perhaps it is a lucky coincidence that in the week we announce the winners, many of our bookshops have started to reopen. What better way to celebrate today’s winners by buying and reading them?’

The Society of Authors’ Awards will be celebrated with a day of online activity today (Thursday 18 June) in lieu of a physical ceremony. Hourly winners’ videos from 10am – 8pm will showcase the nine prizes, with a free virtual afternoon tea at 4pm with author and Waterstones Children’s Laureate Cressida Cowell. Videos and news will be shared from the Twitter (@soc_of_authors) and Instagram accounts (@society_of_Authors) with the hashtag #SoAwards.

The awards are supported by the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS).


THE WINNERS FOR EACH AWARD ARE…

BETTY TRASK PRIZE

The Betty Trask Prize and Awards are presented for a first novel by a writer under 35. Judged by Ben Brooks, Elanor Dymott and Vaseem Khan. Past winners include Zadie Smith, David Szalay, Hari Kunzru and Sarah Waters. Total prize and award fund: £26,200.

BETTY TRASK PRIZE WINNER: KATHRYN HIND FOR HITCH (HAMISH HAMILTON) AWARDED £10,000

Kathryn Hind was born in Canberra and has now returned there after living for five years in the UK. She’s published essays and short stories in various Australian journals and collections, and has had a poem published on one of Canberra’s Action buses. Kathryn began her first novel, Hitch, while studying in the UK, and in 2018 she was awarded the inaugural Penguin Literary Prize for the manuscript. KATHRYN LIVES IN CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA.

Elanor Dymott, Betty Trask judge, says: ‘An extraordinary take on the picaresque, Kathryn Hind’s Hitch is 100% a winner. At times I found the book so intense I had to pause to catch my breath. Moving at a pace that’s relentless, the controlled, crafted storytelling provides an elegant masterclass in how to write a novel.’

BETTY TRASK AWARD WINNERS: THREE WINNERS EACH AWARDED £5,400

ISABELLA HAMMAND FOR THE PARISIAN (JONATHAN CAPE, VINTAGE)

Isabella Hammad was born in London. She won the 2018 Plimpton Prize for Fiction for her story ‘Mr. Can’aan’. Her writing has appeared in Conjunctions and the Paris Review. The Parisian is her first novel. ISABELLA GREW UP IN LONDON.

OKECHUKWU NZELU FOR THE PRIVATE JOYS OF NNENNA MALONEY (DIALOGUE BOOKS)

Okechukwu Nzelu is a writer and teacher. He was born in Manchester in 1988, read English at Girton College, Cambridge and completed the Teach First programme. His work has been published in Agenda, PN Review, E-magazine and The Literateur and his essay ‘Troubles with God’ will be published in the anthology Safe: On Black British Men Reclaiming Space (Trapeze, 2019). In 2015 he was the recipient of a New Writing North Award for The Private Joys of Nnenna Maloney, which is his debut novel. OKECHUKWU WAS BORN AND STILL LIVES IN MANCHESTER.

STACEY HALLS FOR THE FAMILIARS (ZAFFRE, BONNIER BOOKS)

Stacey Halls was born in 1989 and grew up in Rawtenstall, Lancashire. She studied journalism at the University of Central Lancashire before moving to London aged 21 and becoming a journalist. She has written for publications including Stylist, Psychologies, The Independent and Fabulous magazine. The Familiars is her first novel. HAVING GROWN UP IN RAWTENSTALL, LANCASHIRE, STACEY NOW LIVES IN LONDON.


THE McKITTERICK PRIZE

The McKitterick Prize is awarded to a first novel by a writer over 40. Judged by Susan Hill, Abir Mukherjee and Christopher Tayler. Past winners include Helen Dunmore, Mark Haddon and Petinah Gappah. Total prize fund: £5,250.

THE McKITTERICK PRIZE WINNER: CLAIRE ADAM FOR GOLDEN CHILD (FABER AND FABER) AWARDED £4,000.

Claire Adam was born and raised in Trinidad and Tobago. She was educated in the US and now lives in London with her husband and two children. Golden Child is her first novel. NOW BASED IN SOUTH EAST LONDON, CLAIRE IS ORIGINALLY FROM TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO.

Christopher Tayler, McKitterick Prize judge, says: ‘This has a premise like a thriller but takes you somewhere very different; it’s a brilliantly controlled and patient piece of writing and the judges were unanimously impressed.’

THE MCKITTERICK PRIZE RUNNER-UP: TAFFY BRODESSER-AKNER FOR FLEISHMAN IS IN TROUBLE (WILDFIRE, HEADLINE) AWARDED £1,250

Taffy Brodesser-Akner is a staff writer for The New York Times Magazine. She has also written for GQ, ESPN the Magazine, and many other publications. In the past her celebrity profiles have won her the New York Press Club Award and Mirror Award. Fleishman Is in Trouble is her first novel. It is both a New York Times and Sunday Times top 10 bestseller. TAFFY WAS BORN AND STILL LIVES IN NEW YORK.


THE ALCS TOM-GALLON TRUST AWARD

Sponsored by the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS), the ALCS Tom-Gallon Trust Award is awarded for a short story by a writer who has had at least one short story accepted for publication. Judged by Stuart Evers and Michèle Roberts. Previous winners include Benjamin Myers, Lucy Wood, Grace Ingoldby and Claire Harman. Total prize fund: £1,575.

THE ALCS TOM-GALLON TRUST AWARD WINNER: WENDY RILEY FOR ‘EVA AT THE END OF THE WORLD’ AWARDED £1,000

Born in England, Wendy Riley studied Social Science at the London School of Economics, then trained as a journalist, working on local newspapers in Windsor/Slough then movie magazines in London. Now living just outside Melbourne, Australia, Riley has since worked in a variety of roles including aged care, psychology and family therapy. She currently undertakes business writing for the ‘day job’ while pursuing creative writing of her own. Her stories have been recognised in awards in the UK, Ireland and Australia (including the Bridport Prize and the Moth). THOUGH BORN IN ENGLAND, WENDY NOW LIVES NEAR MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA.

Michele Roberts, ALCS Tom-Gallon Trust Award judge, says: ‘This was outstanding because of its passion, commitment, clarity and compassion.’

THE ALCS TOM-GALLON TRUST AWARD RUNNER-UP: DIANA POWELL FOR ‘WHALE WATCHING’ AWARDED £575

Diana Powell’s short stories have been published in a variety of anthologies and journals. Most recently, her work has appeared in Heartland, a Penfro competition winners’ anthology, Citizens of Nowhere (Cinnamon Press), Noon (Arachne Press), the Blue Nib magazine, issues 37 and 38. Her stories have also won, or been featured, in a number of competitions. She won this year’s ChipLit Festival Prize, the 2014 Penfro Prize, and the 2013 Allen Raine award. In 2016 she was longlisted for the Sean O’Faolain, shortlisted for the Over the Edge New Writer, and was a runner-up in the Cinnamon Press short fiction competition. Her novella, Esther Bligh, was published in 2018 by Holland House Books. She studied English at Aberystwyth university. DIANA IS CURRENTLY BASED IN PEMBROKESHIRE BUT PREVIOUSLY LIVED IN LLANELLI, WEST WALES.


PAUL TORDAY MEMORIAL PRIZE

The Paul Torday Memorial Prize is awarded to a first novel by a writer over 60. The prize includes a set of the collected works of British writer Paul Torday, who published his first novel Salmon Fishing in the Yemen at the age of 60. Judged by William Fiennes, Catherine Johnson and Sarah Waters. The inaugural Paul Torday Memorial Prize was awarded to Anne Youngson for Meet Me at the Museum in 2019. Total prize fund: £1,000.

PAUL TORDAY MEMORIAL PRIZE WINNER: DONALD S MURRAY FOR AS THE WOMEN LAY DREAMING (SARABAND) AWARDED £1,000

A son of the Hebrides, Donald S. Murray is a writer and poet whose work has been shortlisted for both the Saltire Literary Awards and the Callum Macdonald Memorial Award. His critically acclaimed books bring to life the culture and nature of the Scottish islands, and he appears regularly on BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio Scotland. As the Women Lay Dreaming is his first novel. BORN AND RAISED IN NESS IN THE ISLE OF LEWIS, DONALD NOW LIVES IN SHETLAND.

Sarah Waters, Paul Torday Memorial Prize judge, says: ‘Just a few pages into As the Women Lay Dreaming, I knew I had found our winner. Murray’s novel is the slimmest book on the shortlist, but it’s a book that’s big with beauty, poetry and heart. A wonderful achievement, a brilliant blend of fact and fiction, full of memorable images and singing lines of prose.’

PAUL TORDAY MEMORIAL PRIZE RUNNER-UP: GABY KOPPEL FOR REPARATION (HONNO PRESS)

Gaby Koppel is a freelance TV Producer and journalist with credits that include Crimewatch UK, ‘The Experiment’, ‘Holocaust Memorial Day’, ‘Child of Our Time – The Children’s Stories’ and ‘Rip-Off Britain’. She also writes regularly for national newspapers and magazines including the Guardian, the Daily Mail and the Jewish Chronicle. In 2008 she left the BBC for a master’s degree in Creative Writing at City University, to fulfil a long-held ambition of writing fiction. She won the Christopher Little Literary Agency Award, 2010 and was longlisted for the Bath Novel award 2016. Gaby was born in Cardiff of Hungarian and German heritage. Currently dividing her time between London and MediaCityUK in Salford, she is one half of BergholtBrown (film and TV production company) with her husband, film director, Stephen Brown. GABY GREW UP IN CARDIFF AND IS NOW BASED IN LONDON.

Catherine Johnson, Paul Torday Memorial Prize judge, says: ‘I thought this was an engrossing and satisfying read. I discovered worlds and people I had never met and I was swept along by a narrative that explored identity and families and how they live long term with deep trauma. Koppel has written a story that deserves to a wider audience.’


THE QUEEN’S KNICKERS AWARD – INAUGURAL YEAR

This new annual prize, funded by Nicholas Allan, author of The Queen’s Knickers, is awarded to an outstanding children’s original illustrated book for ages 0-7. It will recognise books that strike a quirky, new note and grab the attention of a child, whether this be in the form of curiosity, amusement, horror or excitement. Judged by Alexis Deacon, Emily Gravett and Korky Paul. Total prize fund: £6,000.

THE QUEEN’S KNICKERS AWARD WINNER: ELENA AREVALO MELVILLE FOR UMBRELLA (SCALLYWAG PRESS) AWARDED £5,000

Elena Arevalo Melville grew up in tropical Guatemala, studied architecture in Barcelona, and now lives in Cambridge with her partner and children. She has an MA in Children’s book illustration from Cambridge School of Art. Elena leads workshops and art clubs in comics and art for children and adults, and her published work includes a series of Fantastical Maps for Cambridge Curiosity and Imagination, contributions to small comic anthologies. ELENA IS NOW BASED IN CAMBRIDGE, THOUGH SHE WAS RAISED IN GUATEMALA.

Alexis Deacon, The Queen’s Knickers Award judge, says: ‘When judging this prize each of us thought that they alone would be speaking up for Umbrella and each of us was overjoyed to discover that we all felt the same. It is a book that makes you feel like it is your discovery, like it belongs to you. At first glance Umbrella can appear quiet or small. It is a book that might easily be overlooked on shelves packed with bolder shapes and brighter colours. It doesn’t deserve that. Like the umbrella in the story it deserves to be found and opened. Opening the book is like opening that umbrella: You do it and something wonderful unfolds. It is my hope that this award will allow Umbrella to reach a wider audience than it otherwise would and help its creator to make more books like it. In a world where it seems like you have to scream just to be heard, Umbrella talks to you in its own clear voice, as a friend. It is a very worthy winner.’

RUNNER-UP: DIDIER LÉVY AND FREDERIC BENAGLIA FOR HOW TO LIGHT YOUR DRAGON (THAMES & HUDSON) AWARDED £1,000

Didier Lévy has published many children’s books in his native France, all of which introduce children to the big questions in life. DIDIER IS BASED IN FRANCE.

Frederic Benaglia is artistic director at Bayard Presse and has illustrated many children’s books. FREDERIC IS FROM PARIS AND NOW LIVES IN ANTIBES, FRANCE.

Emily Gravett, one of The Queen’s Knickers Award judges, says: ‘All the judges just loved this book because it really epitomises what we felt The Queens Knickers Award stands for. Books made with joy, for the joy of books.’


SOMERSET MAUGHAM AWARD WINNERS: FOUR WRITERS EACH AWARDED £4,000

The Somerset Maugham Awards are for published works of fiction, non-fiction or poetry by writers under 30, to enable them to enrich their work by gaining experience of foreign countries. Judged by Nadifa Mohamed, Barney Norris and Ian Thomson. Past winners include Helen Oyeyemi, Julian Barnes, Zadie Smith and Jonathan Freedland. Total prize fund: £16,000.

ALEX ALLISON FOR THE ART OF THE BODY (DIALOGUE BOOKS) – NOVEL

Barney Norris, Somerset Maugham Judge, says: ‘This is a deft and harrowing novel telling a powerful and urgent story about the limits of compassion and care by a novelist of immense promise.’

Alexander Allison was born and raised in London. He holds a BA in Art History from University of York, and an MA in Creative Writing from University of Manchester’s Centre for New Writing. His work has been published by Civil Coping Mechanisms, The Red Ceilings Press, Popshot, Willow Springs, and Artifice Magazine among others. He can be found on Twitter at @alex_j_allison where he mostly posts about AFC Wimbledon and his poor luck at poker. ALEX LIVES IN HARINGEY, NORTH LONDON.

OLIVER SODEN FOR MICHAEL TIPPETT: THE BIOGRAPHY (ORION) – NON-FICTION

Ian Thomson, Somerset Maugham judge, says: ‘Oliver Soden’s biography of Michael Tippett is a model of research and imaginative reconstruction. With rare narrative verve, Soden illuminates the life and times of a composer who has fallen out of favour. Michael Tippett: The Biography is a marvel of the biographer’s art and superbly written.’

Oliver Soden is a writer and broadcaster. He took a double first in English from Clare College, Cambridge, and for his research on Michael Tippett was awarded a Fellowship in the Humanities from the University of Texas at Austin. His essays and reviews have appeared in a wide variety of publications, including The Guardian, Gramophone, The Art Newspaper, and Musical Quarterly, and he has appeared as a guest on the Six O’Clock News (BBC Radio 4); Proms Plus, Twenty Minutes, and Live in Concert (BBC Radio 3). Born in 1990, he grew up in Bath and Sussex, and lives in London. Michael Tippett is his first book. OLIVER HAS LIVED IN BATH AND WEST SUSSEX AND IS NOW BASED IN CHISWICK, LONDON.

ROSEANNE WATT FOR MODER DY (BIRLINN LTD) – POETRY

Nadifa Mohamed, Somerset Maugham judge, says: ‘A beautiful collection of poetry that transports through time and space, it is full of sea spray and melancholy. The dual language poems speak powerfully of home, folklore and the lost past.’

Roseanne Watt is a poet, filmmaker and musician from Shetland. She is currently poetry editor for The Island Review and was the winner of the 2015 Outspoken Poetry Prize (Poetry in Film), runner-up in the 2018 Aesthetica Creative Writing Award and won the Edwin Morgan Poetry Award in 2018. ROSEANNE LIVES IN EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND.           

AMROU AL-KADHI FOR UNICORN (4TH ESTATE) – NON-FICTION

Nadifa Mohamed, Somerset Maugham judge, says: ‘A wild and untamed memoir that is told with such breathlessness and confidence that Al-Kadhi seems to be in the room with you. The story goes from familial love to aquariums to sexual identity and is enjoyable, and laugh out funny, all the way through.’

Amrou Al-Kadhi is the founder of drag troupe Denim and has written an episode for Kumail Nanjiani & Emily V. Gordon’s upcoming series for Apple (US), ‘Little America’, as well as for BBC America’s hotly anticipated series, ‘The Watch’. Amrou has two original TV series in development, one with Channel 4 Comedy and the other with BBC Drama. Amrou has written and directed four short films that focus on the intersection of queer identity and race, and has features in development with Film4, the BFI and BBC films. Their journalism has appeared in the Guardian, Independent, Gay Times, Attitude, CNN and Little White Lies, among other publications. Unicorn is Amrou’s first book. HAVING PREVIOUSLY LIVED IN DUBAI AND BAHRAIN, AMROU NOW LIVES IN CAMBERWELL, LONDON.


THE ERIC GREGORY AWARD WINNERS: FIVE POETS EACH AWARDED £5,670

The Eric Gregory Award is presented for a collection of poems by a poet under 30. Judged by Vahni Capildeo, Inua Ellams, Don Paterson, Katherine Pierpoint, Michael Symmons Roberts and Roger Robinson. Past winners include Carol Ann Duffy, Tom Chivers, Helen Mort and Alan Hollinghurst. Total prize fund: £28,350.

SUSANNAH DICKEY FOR BLOODTHIRSTY FOR MARRIAGE

Susannah Dickey’s first novel, Tennis Lessons, will be published in June 2020 by Transworld Publishers, with a second novel following in 2022, as part of a two-book deal. She is the author of three poetry pamphlets and her poetry has been published in Ambit, The White Review, Magma, The Scores, Poetry Ireland Review, The Tangerine, and Hotdog. Her work has also appeared in the anthologies Seven Responses (The Lifeboat Press, 2019), On Relationships (3 of Cups Press, 2020) and Why Poetry? (Lunar Poetry Podcasts, 2018) as well as on the BBC R4 programme ‘Blast’. She was shortlisted for the 2018 The White Review short story prize and she was the winner of the inaugural Verve Poetry Festival competition. Susannah has an MA in Creative and Life Writing from Goldsmiths College, for which she was awarded the Isaac Arthur Green scholarship. She is currently studying for an AHRC funded PhD in Creative Writing at the Seamus Heaney Centre, Belfast. SUSANNAH CURRENTLY LIVES IN BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND.

NATALIE LINH BOLDERSTON FOR DIVINATIONS ON SURVIVAL

Natalie Linh Bolderston’s poems have been featured in Oxford Poetry, Magma, The Good Journal, Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, and elsewhere. She has also been anthologised in Islands Are But Mountains: New poetry from the United Kingdom (Platypus Press), and her debut pamphlet, The Protect of Ghosts, was published by V. Press in April 2019 (selected by guest editor Carrie Etter). In September 2019, she was a runner-up in the BBC Proms Poetry Competition (19+category), and her poem was broadcast on BBC Radio 3. In 2018, Natalie won the Silver Creative Future Literary Award and came second in the Timothy Corsellis Poetry Prize. She has also won the University of Liverpool’s Felicia Hemans Prize for Lyrical Poetry, and the Miriam Alott Poetry Prize. Additionally, Natalie was recently commissioned by the Arts Council-funded Bedtime Stories at the End of the World podcast to write a mythic poetry sequence, which was broadcast online in September 2019. She studied English at the University of Liverpool (2014-2017) and is a member of the Roundhouse Poetry Collective 2019-20, a development programme for young poets. NATALIE NOW LIVES IN HOUNSLOW.

ROSEANNE WATT FOR MODER DY

Roseanne Watt is a poet, filmmaker and musician from Shetland. She is currently poetry editor for The Island Review and was the winner of the 2015 Outspoken Poetry Prize (Poetry in Film), runner-up in the 2018 Aesthetica Creative Writing Award and won the Edwin Morgan Poetry Award in 2018. ROSEANNE LIVES IN EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND.

KADISH MORRIS FOR POOR BUT SEXY

Kadish Morris is a London-based poet, critic and editor originally from Leeds. As a teenager, she featured in the award-winning documentary film, ‘We are Poets’ and went on to study Magazine Publishing with Creative Writing. Her poetry has been published in Popshot, A Strange American Funeral, was recently exhibited at Gallery 44 in Toronto and was also turned into a BBC short film in 2019. She has performed her work at the ICA, the BFI and Rich Mix Theatre. She is currently the commissioning editor at The Observer New Review and was previously a staff writer at frieze. ORIGINALLY FROM LEEDS, KADISH NOW LIVES IN LONDON.

AMINA JAMA FOR A WARNING TO THE HOUSE THAT HOLDS ME

Amina Jama is a Somali-British writer, currently studying for her BA English with Creative Writing at Goldsmiths University. An alumna of Barbican Young Poetry, member of Octavia Poetry Collective, co-host of BoxedIn, Amina has completed residencies and performed internationally with Speaking Volumes. She began facilitating at 19 years of age as the Assistant facilitator for the Roundhouse Poetry Collective. Her work has been published in numerous anthologies, as well as shortlisted for the Outspoken 2018 Poetry Prize. She has been commissioned by the BBC, Nationwide, The Queens Gallery, Buckingham Palace and the London Mayor’s Office. Amina produced, curated and launched an installation and exhibition which toured at the Roundhouse, Black Cultural Archives and Free Word Centre from Aug-Dec 2019. Published work includes: The Things I Would Tell You, edited by Sabrina Mahfouz, published by Saqi Books in 2017; Rising Stars published by Otter-Barry Books in 2017; Poems Out Loud published by Lady-Bird in 2019. ORIGINALLY FROM SOMALIA, AMINA NOW LIVES IN LONDON.


THE CHOLMONDELEY AWARD WINNERS: FOUR POETS EACH AWARDED £1,680

PRESENTED FOR A BODY OF WORK BY A POET 

The Cholmondeley Awards are awarded for a body of work by a poet. Judged by Grace Nichols, Paul Farley, Drew Milne and Deryn Rees-Jones. Previous winners have included Seamus Heaney, Carol Ann Duffy, John Agard and Andrew Motion. Total prize fund: £8,400.

ALEC FINLAY

Alec Finlay is a poet and artist whose work crosses over a range of media and forms, including public art and work on disability. Recent art projects include A Variety of Cultures, a permanent artwork installation at Jupiter Artland; and HUTOPIA for the Fondazione Prada exhibition ‘Machines á penser’ at the Venice Architecture Biennale. Finlay is currently poet and artist in residence with Paths for All. Finlay established morning star publications in 1990. He has published over forty books and won seven Scottish Design Awards, including two Grand Prix Awards (2001, 2015). Recent publications include the Scottish Design Award best publication winner a far-off land (2018); gathering published by Hauser & Wirth (2018); th’ fleety wud (2017), minnmouth (2017), ebban an’ flowan (2015), and Global Oracle (2014). His best-known collection of poems is Be My Reader (Shearsman, 2012). ALEC LIVES IN EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND.

LINDA FRANCE

Linda France has published eight poetry collections, including The Toast of the Kit-Cat Club (Bloodaxe 2005), book of days (Smokestack 2009) and Reading the Flowers (Arc 2016). She edited Sixty Women Poets (Bloodaxe 1993) and won the 2013 National Poetry Competition. She has worked on many collaborations, most recently Compass, with sound recordist Chris Watson. Her latest work, The Knucklebone Floor, was part of her PhD on Women, Landscape and Ecology. Linda is currently a Climate Writer with New Writing North and Newcastle University. LINDA LIVES IN NORTHUMBERLAND.

HANNAH LOWE

Hannah Lowe is a writer and academic based in London. Her first poetry collection Chick (Bloodaxe, 2013) won the Michael Murphy Memorial Award for Best First Collection and was shortlisted for the Forward, Aldeburgh and Seamus Heaney Best First Collection Prizes. Her second collection is Chan (Bloodaxe, 2016). In 2014, she was named as one of 20 Next Generation British poets. She has also published four chapbooks, most recently The Neighbourhood (Outspoken Press, 2019). She has been Writer in Residence at Keats House and lectures in Creative Writing at Brunel University. She regularly writes for radio and is engaged in various transdisciplinary collaborations. HANNAH LOWE IS ORIGINALLY FROM ILLFORD, ESSEX, AND NOW LIVES IN WOOD GREEN, LONDON.

BHANU KAPIL

Bhanu Kapil is a British poet, born to Indian parents. She is the author of a number of full-length works of poetry/prose, including The Vertical Interrogation of Strangers (Kelsey Street Press, 2001), Incubation: a space for monsters (Leon Works, 2006/Kelsey Street Press, 2020), humanimal [a project for future children] (Kelsey Street Press, 2009), Schizophrene (Nightboat, 2011), and Ban en Banlieue (Nightboat, 2015). Kapil taught seminars in experimental writing and interdisciplinary practice for twenty years at Naropa University, and currently teaches creative writing for the low-residency Goddard College MFA in Creative Writing. In 2019, Kapil was awarded the Judith E. Wilson Poetry Fellowship at the University of Cambridge. During this time, she completed her first full-length poetry collection to be published in the United Kingdom, How to Wash a Heart (2020). Kapil also received the Windham Campbell Prize for Poetry in 2020. BHANU IS NOW BASED IN CAMBRIDGE, BUT HAS PREVIOUSLY LIVED IN HAYES, RUISLIP, COLORADO, AND INDIA.

ROD MENGHAM

Rod Mengham is author of several poetry publications, including Grimspound & Inhabiting Art (Carcanet, 2018), the vase in pieces (Oystercatcher, 2019) and of translations, including Speedometry [poems by Andrzej Sosnowski] (Contraband, 2014) and Flatsharing [poems by Anne Portugal] (Equipage, forthcoming). He has been the co-editor and co-translator of multiple anthologies, co-wrote Thomas Hardy’s Shorter Fiction (EUP, 2007), published monographs on Dickens, Emily Bronte and Henry Green; and The Descent of Language (1993) and edited several essay collections. Between 1992 and 2002, he was co-organiser of the annual Cambridge Conference of Contemporary Poetry and since 1992 has been the publisher of Equipage. Rod is Reader in Modern English Literature at Cambridge University, and a Fellow of Jesus College. He has also curated many exhibitions of contemporary art since 2003, and has made several films with the artist Marc Atkins (soundingpolefilms) as well as the text + image publication Still Moving (London: Veer Publications, 2014). ROD IS ORIGINALLY FROM WEST SUSSEX AND NOW LIVES IN CAMBRIDGE.


THE TRAVELLING SCHOLARSHIPS

The Travelling Scholarships are awarded to British writers to enable engagement with writers abroad. Judged by Tahmima Anam, Aida Edemariam, Adam O’Riordan, Sameer Rahim and Gary Younge. Previous recipients have included Dylan Thomas, Laurie Lee, Margaret Drabble and Helen Simpson. Total prize fund: £8,000.

AWARDED TO FIVE BRITISH WRITERS TO ENABLE TRAVEL AND ENGAGEMENT WITH WRITERS ABROAD. £1,600 EACH TO:

  • LUKE BROWN, books editor, columnist, lecturer, and author of My Biggest Lie
  • INUA ELLAMS, a poet, playwright, and designer who founded The Midnight Run
  • GEORGINA LAWTON, journalist, travel writer, and author of Raceless
  • NEIL ROLLINSON, previous Cholmondeley Award recipient whose most recent book Talking Dead was shortlisted for the Costa Poetry Prize
  • AHDAF SOUEIF, author of Book Prize shortlisted novel The Map of Love and co-founder of the Palestine Festival of Literature.

With thanks to the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS) for support.

The Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS) is a not-for-profit organisation started by writers for the benefit of all types of writers. Owned by its members, ALCS collects money due for secondary uses of writers’ work. It is designed to support authors and their creativity, ensure they receive fair payment and see their rights are respected. It promotes and teaches the principles of copyright and campaigns for a fair deal. It represents over 100,000 members, and since 1977 has paid around £500 million to writers (alcs.co.uk).​

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