The Northern Writers’ Awards has opened for submissions with a chance to win a share of £40,000 in development opportunities as former winner Benjamin Myers launches a new short story category.
Now in its 23rd year, the awards programme is the largest writing development project of its kind in England and has a reputation for identifying some of the country’s best unpublished writing. It is produced by New Writing North, with support from Northumbria University and Arts Council England and a range of partners.
Myers won a Northern Writers’ Award in 2013 and he is now supporting other writers with the introduction of a new prize, the Finchale Award for Short Fiction. He is funding it following the adaptation of The Gallows Pole (Bloomsbury), which is being adapted by Shane Meadows for the actor's first BBC drama commission.
“Winning a Northern Writers’ Award was the first crucial step in my writing career,” Myers said. “I always vowed that if I were in a position to give back the £5,000 prize money via an annual competition, I would, and fortunately now with one of my novels being adapted for the screen, I can.
"The prize is named after Finchale Priory, once a medieval place of retreat for the monks of Durham cathedral, and a place that’s special to me. I’m excited to read the entries, and encourage writers of any background or ability to enter. I firmly believe that here in the North we don’t wait for things to happen—we make them happen.”
Belfast author Wendy Erskine is one of the judges for this year's Finchale Award for Short Fiction. Her short story collection Sweet Home won the Butler Literary Award, and her stories and non-fiction have been broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and 4. She will judge this year's award alongside Benjamin Myers.
"The great thing about judging a competition like this is the diversity of voices, styles, genres, characters. I come with very few preconceptions about what makes a good story, but I know that we will encounter exceptional work."