Seven writers from across the north of England region have received awards of between £2,500 and £5,000 to support their works-in-progress via the annual Northern Writers Awards, announced at the Hexham Book Festival last weekend (25 April - 3 May). The writers share a purse of £25,000, made available through sponsorship from the Leighton Group and Arts Council England. The Awards are given to both new and established writers. Lorna Elliott, a qualified barrister and solicitor who left law to write, and Richard Rippon, a laboratory analyst, both won Northern Promise Awards for their novels-in-progress and were singled out by judge and literary agent Carole Blake for particular praise. 'Because of the vast amount of reading in my job, I have to be really impressed by something if I m going to pick it out of a pile of submissions and really want to read more of it, but both of these entries intrigued and impressed me. It's a testament to the scheme that these writers are now supported by New Writing North, and have an industry-recognised award.'
Other writers who took home awards were Weardale poet Pru Kitching; Rebecca Jenkins, from Barnard Castle, who is currently working on her new novel, Gentleman Jo and the Radical; and Marion Husband from Stockton on Tees, whose previous novels have been published by Teesside-based Mudfog Press and Accent Press.
Pippa Little was selected as the recipient of this year's Andrew Waterhouse Award, which is named in memory of poet Andrew Waterhouse, who died in 2001. The Award aims to give special support to a poet whose work shows great promise.
Sarah Shaw, from Derwentside, won the Andrea Badenoch Prize for her collection of short stories. This award was established by the family and friends of Andrea Badenoch, a gifted novelist who died of breast cancer; it was presented by her son Jay.
The Northern Writers Awards 2009 winners: (l-r) Richard Rippon, Sarah Shaw, Rebecca Jenkins, Lorna Elliot, Pippa Little and Marion Husband, photographed at Whitley Bay by Keith Pattison