OPEN TO NEW AND EMERGING LIFE WRITERS, SPREAD THE WORD’S LIFE WRITING PRIZE WAS ESTABLISHED TO CELEBRATE AND DEVELOP LIFE WRITING IN THE UK.
The Spread the Word Life Writing Prize in association with Goldsmiths Writers’ Centre was established in 2016, thanks to a generous donation from Joanna Munro. Blake Morrison is Patron of the Prize.
Free to enter, the Prize aims to find the best life writing from emerging writers from across the UK. The Prize defines life writing as ‘intended to be true’, reflects someone’s own life journey or experiences and is not fiction. The competition is open to writers who have yet to publish a full-length work or have a literary agent.
The 2017 prize was won by Jon Paul Roberts for 1955-2012.
The 2018 prize was won by Danny Brunton for New Boy.
The 2019 prize was won by Charlotte Derrick for The Lady in Black.
The 2020 prize was won by Lorelei Goulding for Birdie.
Our first ever Life Writing Prize 2020 Anthology, featuring all twelve stories longlisted for the Prize can be downloaded here: bit.ly/LifeWritingPrize2020Anthology.
The Life Writing Prize 2021 will open for entries again in November 2020.
Aisling Twomey is a writer and yoga teacher, born and raised in Ireland but now living in London. Her work has been published in the Irish Law Times, the Irish Times and the Irish Independent among others. She also writes for Book Riot. Aisling is currently working on her first novel for young adults and is studying for an MA in Creative Writing at Birkbeck, University of London.
You can read Hometown Legacy here: https://www.spreadtheword.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Hometown-Legacy-by-Aisling-Twomey.pdf :
Highly Commended 2019
Alison Marr, originally from Northern Ireland is a musician and songwriter based in London. She studied Creative Writing at the OU and writes short stories and poetry and is currently working on a collection of fairy tales set in Kilburn. When not writing she plays jigs and reels on her mandolin.
You can read Fat Baby here: https://www.spreadtheword.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Fat-Baby-by-Alison-Marr.pdfhere:
Carla Montemayor has worked in communications and politics in the Philippines, Indonesia and the UK. She studied economics in a previous life and returned to university as a mature student. She has an MA in Political Communication from the University of Sheffield. She has written satire, poetry and short fiction on and off and now aspires to do more life writing and perhaps a novel. She is an avid cook and photographer.
You can read North of the River here: bit.ly/CarlaMontemayorNorthoftheRiver
Cathy Galvin has roots in Connemara and England. A journalist, she has worked on staff for Newsweek and the Sunday Times, where she founded the Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award. She is founder and director of the UK’s leading promoter of short fiction, the Word Factory. Her poetry has appeared in journals and anthologies including New Walk, Visual Verse, the Morning Star, London Magazine and Letter To An Unknown Soldier (Collins). In 2016, she published her second collection of poetry, Rough Translation (Melos Press), was artist in residence at the Heinrich Boll Cottage, Achill Island, and was awarded a Hawthornden Fellowship. The Missing Sixth is part of a larger work set in England and Ireland, exploring her mother’s short life. www.cathygalvin.com
You can read The Missing Sixth here: https://www.spreadtheword.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Cathy-Galvin-The-Missing-Sixth-.pdfhere:
Charlotte Derrick is an emerging prose writer from Belfast, Northern Ireland. She is currently on the MA in Creative Writing at Queen’s University Belfast. Her work has been featured in The Honest Ulsterman and Coming Out.
You can read The Lady in Black here: https://www.spreadtheword.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/The-Lady-in-Black-by-Charlotte-Derrick.pdfhere:
Highly Commended 2017
Claire Lynch is a lecturer in English at Brunel University London. Claire lives near Windsor with her wife Bethan and their twin daughters. She enjoys running, which is lucky, as life with two toddlers provides plenty of practice. You can contact Claire @DrClaireLynch on Twitter.
You can read The Year Dot here: https://www.spreadtheword.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Claire-Lynch-The-Year-Dot-.pdf
About ten years ago, after attending a screenwriting course at Birkbeck, I wrote the first draft of a fictional, feature-length screenplay, based on events that took place in my late-teens in the early 1970s. The screenplay lay gathering dust on a shelf until a couple of years ago, when I dusted it off and wrote the second draft as a true story. As I attempted to develop it further, I realised that there were too many events and characters to fit into a 90-minute screenplay, so I decided to turn it into a book. New Boy is the prologue.
You can read New Boy here: https://www.spreadtheword.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/New-Boy-by-Danny-Brunton.pdfhere
David Murphy is a writer of fiction, plays, screenplays and poetry. He won the Dun Laoghaire 1500 trophy for poetry and the Heritage Arts Company Radio Play competition. His plays have been performed at the Exeter Festival and the London Festival of Visual Theatre. He was a co-editor of Tall Tales and Modern Fables magazine, and Studies in Social and Political Thought. He writes about alienation and redemption, the meeting of different cultures, classes and world views, family, and, often, about ice cream.
You can read Screech Owl here: https://www.spreadtheword.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Screech-Owl-by-David-Murphy.pdfhere:
Recently I won the Lightship publishing Novel Award and was 2nd in the Inaugural Spread the Word Writing Award with subsequent publication in ‘Edgeways’ from Flight Press. Some of my fiction has been shortlisted for the Asham Award, the Willesden Herald Competition, Aidan Higgins Award and Elle Magazine. I have had work read at Liars League, and The Word Factory, London.
You can read 9 Days – Modes of Distraction here: https://www.spreadtheword.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Deirdre-Shanahan-9-Days-Modes-of-Distraction.pdf
Elena Croitoru lives in Kent and has an MSt in Creative Writing from the University of Cambridge. Her work has been selected for the Best New British & Irish Poets 2019 & she won second place in the Edward Thomas Award, third place in the Open House Poetry Competition & was highly commended in the Wales Poetry Award. She was shortlisted for the Gregory O’Donoghue Prize, Wasafiri New Writing Prize, Bridport Prize & other awards. She is also editing her first novel & working on a poetry collection. You can find her on Twitter: @elenacroitoru.
You can read On Sigma-Algebras here: bit.ly/ElenaCroitoruOnSigma-Algebras
Farhana Shaikh is a writer and publisher born in Leicester. She edits The Asian Writerand runs the small press, Dahlia Publishing. Farhana hosts Writers Meet Up Leicester as well as the annual Leicester Writes Festival of New Writing. In 2017, she won Travelex & Penguin’s The Next Great Travel Writer competition and is currently part of Curve’s Cultural Leadership programme.
You can read Finding My Way Home here: https://www.spreadtheword.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Finding-My-Way-Home-Farhana-Shaikh.pdf
Gill Haigh lives in Hackney, East London. For several years she has hosted an informal weekly writers’ group – laughingly called the ‘salon’ – in the living-rooms of various tiny flats around central London (she moves a lot). In 2016 she was short-listed for the Literary Consultancy’s Pen Factor prize for Singing to Seals, which she is now editing in the hope of finding an agent and getting it published. In 2013 she won the Commonword Prize for Diversity in Children’s Literature for her YA novel, Out of Water, which she’d written as an assignment for her MA in Creative Writing at the University of Portsmouth. After years of bar-work, beach-photography, waiting tables, cleaning, nannying, shop-work, being a (very inefficient) secretary, scavenging for and selling stuff, cooking, teaching, van-driving, farm-labouring, working in factories etc. etc., Gill retired from wage-slavery and these days she enjoys reading, writing and sleeping.
You can read Singing to Seals here: https://www.spreadtheword.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Gillian-Haigh-Singing-to-Seals.pdfhere
Highly Commended 2019
Helen Longstreth is a writer currently living in London. She studied previously at the University of Manchester, The University of California, and recently completed the MA in Creative Writing at Goldsmiths where she was awarded runner up for the 2019 Pat Kavanagh award. She has worked as the assistant editor for the online magazines POSTmatter and Motherland, and is now working on a novel.
You can read The Joy of Cooking here:https://www.spreadtheword.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/The_Joy_of_Cooking-by-Helen-Longstreth.pdfhere:
Highly Commended 2020
Raised as an only child, losing her parents young further fuelled obsessive reading and diary writing. A qualified teacher, Joanna Brown facilitates creative writing workshops. Recent work includes the development of the literary education programme Africa Writes: Young Voices, linking poets with London school students to explore writing from Africa and the diaspora. She is now immersing herself fully in her own writing practice, unearthing her personal family histories to honour and celebrate unsung Black lives in Britain.
You can read Birds can be heard singing through open windows here: bit.ly/JoannaBrownBirdsCanBeHeard
Jon Paul Roberts is an essayist, journalist, and screenwriter from Chester. He worked as an editor for a Liverpudlian literary magazine In The Red, as well as contributing to various sites and local publications within Liverpool. He has run events including launch parties, open mic nights for writers, and other readings. In his essays he hopes to find the line between his experiences and the forces that influenced him, whether that be film, television, family, or friends. He aims to find silver linings in darker moments by writing about them because, as his hero, Nora Ephron, said, everything is copy. He’s on Twitter @JonPaul13
You can read 1955 – 2012 here: https://www.spreadtheword.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Jon-Paul-Roberts-1955-2012.pdf
Josh Holton is an ex-MMA fighter who took too many blows to the head and now writes weird fiction and non-fiction. He quit his stable office job to find fulfilment in the study and practice of storytelling. He now survives on instant noodles but loves his life. Find him on twitter @JHoltonWriter.
K Devan is a writer living in East London and a recent graduate of the Faber Academy, where he entered on a full scholarship. Additionally, he is the current Jason Chin Scholar at the Nursery Theatre. His work explores sexuality and ethnicity, through an intersectional and post-colonial approach. Find him on twitter: @k_devan_writes
You can read neater here: https://www.spreadtheword.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/neater-by-k-devan.pdfhere:
Kashmir Tutt arrived in Birmingham, England aged 2. She has a bachelor’s degree in Integrated studies from the University of Birmingham. She is the second sibling of five and the eldest daughter, which was why she, as a Sikh girl, was ‘never allowed’ to do things her English contemporaries took for granted. Her father was killed in a car accident in 1969 but he left a life-long imprint, and a second- hand stereo, from which her ethics and musical taste grew. She gave up a twenty-five year career in the commercial sector to take up life, which has mostly been spent travelling, teaching, reading or dreaming. She enjoys music, gardening, house design and all things aesthetically pleasing. Kashmir is currently writing a humorous memoir set in the 1960’s and ’70’s (when the greatest music was produced), featuring a bilingual brummy upbringing, and a passion for the rock band Thin Lizzy.
You can read Thin Lizzy here: https://www.spreadtheword.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Kashmir-Tutt-Thin-Lizzy-.pdfhere:
Kate Ivanova is a Crimea-born multifaceted artist. She is currently completing her BA in English Literature at Kingston University London. Her writing consists of elements of autobiographical fiction and surrealism. In her academic and creative work, she explores issues surrounding memory, trauma, space and identity.Kate works and collaborates withartists and academics in Luxembourg, Cyprus and the United Kingdom. She is the launcher of an ongoing documentary project called ‘The Creatress Project’ which focuses on female artists and their stories. Kate is about to embark on a writing and photographic journey throughIndia, with the aim of documenting and photographing local, female artists and their working space.
You can read Being here: https://www.spreadtheword.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Being-Kate-Ivanova.pdfhere:
Kathy Hoyle is a mature student at the Open University, currently studying for a degree in Creative Writing. She hopes to graduate next year. She loves to write short, poignant stories and this year she has been long-listed for the Sunderland short story award and short-listed for the Bedford international writing competition. Her work has appeared, in audio, on the Brum radio ‘Tall Tales’ programme and published in the Firefly literary magazine. She is currently working on a fantasy novella for Young Adults and a short story collection. She can often be found procrastinating on Twitter @kathyhoyle1 or blogging at kathyhoyleblog.wordpress.com
You can read Scab here: https://www.spreadtheword.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Kathy-Hoyle-Scab.pdfhere:
I started to write for myself again after my first child was born. It was unexpected. I snatched moments to write at the breakfast table or in bed late at night. Since then, my writing has begun to take on a life of its own. It has adventures. One day some poems ran off to the theatre to be read by actors. Another time, a girl made the words into a bharata natyum dance. My writing has travelled to the Czech Republic on a coach (http://www.bata-ville.com/main_2.html), it has put me in a film, and taken me to read to audiences at the Barbican & Tate Britain. Short fiction and poetry have journeyed in brown manila envelopes to the editors of literary reviews and magazines; other pieces have made it into anthologies and collections (http://www.peepaltreepress.com/books/red). Once in a while, my writing has been listed for prizes (Wasafiri New Writing Prize 2013 & Spread the Word Life Writing Prize 2017). I never know what it will do next.
Words still provide an escape, but, they offer so many other things now. Most importantly, they are the start of a conversation. I’m just waiting to see who I’ll get to talk to next …
You can read Nomad here: https://www.spreadtheword.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Kaveri-Woodward-Nomad.pdf
HIghly Commended 2017
Kerri ní Dochartaigh is a writer living in a very north-westerly part of Ireland, where the sky is grey and unbearably beautiful; where the land is folkloric and full of swansong. She read English Literature and Classics at Trinity College, Dublin. Her work has been published in some blogs and journals and she is currently shortlisted for the National Memory Day Poetry Prize. Her favourite bird is the curlew, her favourite Undertones’ song is ‘Get over you’ and her favourite cup is mint green with a pale blue handle.
You can read Mudlarking here: https://www.spreadtheword.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Kerri-Ni-Dochartaigh-Mudlarking-.pdfhere:
Highly Commended 2018
In 2017, Laura Morgan won a Scottish Book Trust New Writer Award for her short stories, which have been shortlisted in many competitions, including the Brighton Prize and The Moth Short Story Prize. Her work is published in various magazines and anthologies, both in the UK and abroad; a translation of her story ‘The Bridge’ appears in Taking Flight (Vietnam), a collection of international short stories with Margaret Atwood. As well as fiction, she writes reviews and essays, and has featured as a Scottish Review of Books’ Emerging Critic. She blogs creative non-fiction at aremoteview.wordpress.com
You can read Small Talk here: https://www.spreadtheword.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Small-Talk-by-Laura-Morgan.pdfhere:
Shortlisted 2019, Highly Commended 2020
Laurane Marchive lives in London. Her work has appeared in The London Magazine, The Mechanics’ Institute Review, Review 31 and the TLS. Laurane is a past winner of the French Escales des Lettres. She was recently longlisted for the BBC Short Story Prize and shortlisted for the Spread the Word Life Writing Prize 2019 (for William and the Ham) and the London Short Story Prize 2020. She holds an MA in Creative Writing from Birkbeck. She also runs a circus.
In 2019, Laurane was shortlisted for the Life Writing Prize for William and the Ham. You can read William and the Ham here: https://www.spreadtheword.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/William_and_the_Ham.pdfhere
In 2020, Laurane was highly commended for the Life Writing Prize for For the Flesh is Sour. You can read For the Flesh is Sour here: bit.ly/LauraneMarchiveForTheFleshIsSour
Please note that For the Flesh is Sour contains graphic sexual content.
Having graduated from the University of Brighton in 2011 with a degree in English Language and then pursued a whirlwind career in B2B tech PR (it’s sexier than it sounds), Leke Apena has decided to write unconventional, challenging and entertaining stories about the modern Black British experience. Why? Because they are not enough well-written stories about complex, funny and multifaceted Black British characters and Leke is on a mission to change that. He hopes to publish his first novel, A Prophet Who Loved Her soon.
You can read A Secondary School Education here: https://www.spreadtheword.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/A-Secondary-School-Education-by-Leke-Apena.pdf
I have been writing for seventeen years, about the same length of time as I have been a Professional Driver. Born in London in 1967, I have lived in London for most of my life, mostly in the East End. Since I was little, I have been fascinated with cars and driving, always wanting to grow up to be a Lorry Driver. I grew up in the Eighties, with Thatcherism and high unemployment; by the time I started secondary school I couldn’t see a future in which I had a job at all. But, in over thirty years, I have only been unemployed for four months altogether. Mostly factory work, initially; my redundancy package from the Ford Motor Company giving me the freedom to work for an Agency while working out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.
You can read Attack of the White Van Woman here: https://www.spreadtheword.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Lizanne-Davies-Attack-of-the-White-Van-Woman-.pdfhere
Lorelei Goulding is originally from Long Island, New York and lives in rural Somerset with her husband, three children, and very unruly dog. She is currently completing an MSc in Public Health at UWE Bristol and is particularly interested in Adverse Childhood Experiences and how they impact health over the life-course. She has been keeping disorganised journals and writing stories since childhood. Birdie is her first work to be published.
You can read Birdie here: bit.ly/BirdieLoreleiGoulding
Trigger warning: Please note that the piece contains references to child sex abuse.
Lui Sit was born in Hong Kong, raised in Australia and now lives in London with her family. She started writing plays and poetry as a child which eventually led to a degree in English Literature and Drama from Murdoch University in Perth, Western Australia. The writing bug followed her to London where she completed the Certificate in Creative Writing at Birkbeck University and an MA from Roehampton University. She was longlisted in the Spread the Word Life Writing Award 2018 and included in Penguin’s WriteNow 2018. She is currently completing her first middle grade children’s book and her first memoir.
You can read Mince on Toast here: https://www.spreadtheword.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Mince-on-Toast-Lui-Sit.pdfhere:
Originally from Wiltshire, Madeline Cross now lives in Edinburgh where she works for a youth homelessness charity and is writing her first collection of short stories. Her stories have previously appeared in Tangerine Magazine, Structo, Litro, Rattle Tales, The Honest Ulsterman and the Mechanic’s Institute Review.
You can read As Expected here: https://www.spreadtheword.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/As-Expected-by-Madeline-Cross.pdf
Maxine Davies is a writer born and bred in Newcastle upon Tyne. She has an MA in Modern and Contemporary Literature from Newcastle University. Her writing has been featured in Visual Verse and Mslexia. She came third in the Autumn 2019 Reflex Fiction competition, and in 2017 she was awarded funding from the Young Writers’ Talent Fund to set up her small press, Maybe Later.
You can read Dad’s Home here: bit.ly/MaxineDaviesDadsHome
Nicky Watkinson is a cultural critic who writes and speaks about art in all its forms. A freelance writer for five years, she’s also a speaker and workshop leader. She has a BA in English and an MA in contemporary literature and culture, both from UCL: her academic research focuses on theories of identity, grief, the fragment, and narrative form. She is particularly interested in inter-disciplinarity and tackling questions of form in her work. She writes fiction, creative nonfiction, and drama.
You can read This is a story about friendship here: bit.ly/NickyWatkinsonThisisastoryaboutfriendship
Oluwafunmilayo (Funmi) Adewale is a former teacher and an eternal student. She is currently doing a Creative Writing MA at St. Mary’s University. She enjoys writing in all its forms and recently had a short story published in the anthology, Gains and Losses. Funmi blogs about mental health and other issues at www.in-sane-mind.com and can be found on Twitter @Fumtastic. Through her writing on mental health issues, she hopes to gain more insight into herself and encourage greater openness in others. She is most at home when playfully conversing in Yoruba or when weaving her way through London traffic on her beloved green bike.
You can read When Silence is King here: https://www.spreadtheword.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/When-Silence-Is-King.pdfhere:
You can read Lanugo here: https://www.spreadtheword.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Lanugo-Penelope-Maclachlan.pdfhere:
Roisin Maguire is a business manager and keen recreational scuba diver and scuba instructor. She has always enjoyed writing and has decided that now her four children have grown up a bit, that she is going to put more time and effort into it! She enjoys life writing especially, as it gives her an excuse to try new things and go to new places to ensure she has always got something interesting to write about.
You can read Undertow here: https://www.spreadtheword.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Lanugo-Penelope-Maclachlan.pdfhere:
Ruby Eastwood is 19 and studying English Literature at Oxford University. She grew up in Barcelona, where she returns whenever she can. She is inspired to write by Leonard Cohen, Virginia Woolf and Donna Tartt.
You can read The Spoon Garden here: bit.ly/RubyEastwoodTheSpoonGarden
Ruth Tudor grew up Welsh-speaking and with rural feralness. In 2016 her life took a tumble and she writes to make sense of it and the resonance she feels with planetary crisis. Currently researching for a PhD and writing a book, she seeks to be unruly; to disturb mainstream mindsets; to liberate her inner outlaw. She delights in many things: the big blowy breaths of her horses; the shapes cranes make on an urban skyline; talking ideas with friends and colleagues. Her current favourite word: precarity. More at thepracticeofthewild.com
SR Shah is a working class queer Muslim poet and philosopher hailing from South London. They are interested in the dynamics between poetry and death, the abundance of London, and honouring migrant histories. They have had their Instagram philosophy series exhibited at VFDalston for “unfinished,” and host a quarterly literary event, “untitled.” By day, they are a makeup artist. Photo by Lily Vetch.
You can read Mink Lashes here: bit.ly/SRShah-MinkLashes
Trigger warning: this piece contains references to violence and rape.
Sam Hampson grew up amongst the tall pines of the Forest of Bowland in Lancashire, reading tales of the faeries and witches that live there. Later, Sam read modern European literature at King’s College London and the University of Cambridge where he specialised in ecoliterature and ecophilosophy. Sam’s writing often returns to the theme of ecology whilst also exploring related questions of sexuality and topography. ‘Four Memories from a Berlin Summer’ is Sam’s first work to be published.
You can read Four Memories from a Berlin Summer here:https://www.spreadtheword.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Four-Memories-of-a-Berlin-Summer-by-Sam-Hampson-copy.pdfhere:
Sara Jafari is a writer, and former Flight 1000 Associate with Spread The Word. She writes short stories, and has written one novel. Sara has been published in Syrup Magazine, Tales Magazine, Flight Journal and Spread The Word. She also works as an Editorial Assistant at Harper Collins, and runs her own literary and arts magazine TOKEN Magazine. You can follow her on Twitter: @sarajafari.
You can read The Knob Head Question here: https://www.spreadtheword.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Sara-Jafari-The-Knob-Head-Question.pdf
Stephen Crawley hails from Ashton under Lyne in the foothills of the Pennines, a town considered ‘bare, wet, and almost worthless,’ until the introduction of the cotton trade. From that historical perspective Stephen prides himself on being a working–class writer, his heroes being Barry Hines, Alan Sillitoe and Nell Dunn, who have all influenced his work, and being a Northerner Stephen isn’t scared to proudly admit that fact. A late starter writer, Stephen enjoys constructing first person narratives, and began taking writing seriously after receiving a screenplay commission from Film Four without any writing experience or educational qualifications under his belt.
You can read Down Ashton here: bit.ly/DownAshtonStephenCrawley
Stevie Heaven is a writer from Newcastle. She is a postgraduate student on the MLitt in Creative Writing at the University of Glasgow and in her other life, she works as a journalist. Once upon a time she co-ran the Desperate for Love poetry night series in Brighton, which featured readings from poets such as Sean Bonney, Jeff Hilson, Geraldine Monk and Tom Raworth. @StevieHeaven
You can read Oh, Mother here:https://www.spreadtheword.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Oh-Mother-Stevie-Heaven.pdf
Sue Hann is a psychologist and psycho-sexual therapist, interested in the interplay between psychology and creativity. Her work explores how psychology and art both try to make sense of the universality of pain and suffering. She writes flash fiction and creative non-fiction. Her work has been published in online and print journals such as Popshot quarterly, and included in the National Flash Fiction Day anthology. She lives in London with her husband and a problematic number of books. She is a London Writers Awards recipient 2019-20.
You can read Palingenesis here: bit.ly/SueHannPalingenesis
At age fourteen I fell in love with the classical guitar, an almost obsessive love which led me to follow my tutor, his family and a troupe of Amazon Woolly monkeys to Cornwall, where we lived as a human community alongside our primate cousins. At forty I left and went to university where I received a first class degree, an MA and had an essay published entitled ‘Movies in Disguise’. As I went on to develop a new career as a university lecturer, the events of my earlier life, at the Monkey Sanctuary, became buried at the back of my mind and stayed there for many years. Gradually they have resurfaced as a story I just had to tell.
You can read Another Life here: https://www.spreadtheword.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Another-Life-Sue-Rickard.pdfhere:
Sulaxana Hippisley has been an A-level English teacher for the last eleven years and works in a Sixth form college in North London. Her short stories have been longlisted by the Bristol Short Story Prize, Desi Writers Lounge and she was the runner up in the Asian Writer Short Story Competition in 2014. In 2017, she was selected to be part of the Almasi League, a writer development programme run under the tutelage of Courttia Newland and the Arts Council. The Spread the Word Life Writing Prize is her first foray into memoir writing. She is currently working on a short story collection and lives in North West London with her three-year-old daughter.
You can read This is the house my father built here:https://www.spreadtheword.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/This-is-the-house-my-father-built-by-Sulaxana-Hippisley.pdfhere:
Topher Campbell is a filmmaker, theatremaker, writer and actor. He has directed plays at numerous theatres across the UK. At 24 he won the Regional Young Directors Training Scheme Award and is a recipient of the 2005 Jerwood Directors Award. For television he directed Doctors and EastEnders. For BBC Radio Drama he established the Norman Beaton Fellowship. His short films The Homecoming (http://player.bfi.org.uk/film/watch-homecoming-a-short-film-about-ajamu-1995/ ) and Mulatto Song have been shown worldwide. His documentary In This Our Lives The Reunion was Official Selection 2009 BFI London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival and at Pembe hayat kuirfest 2016 Istanbul. In 2000 alongside artist-photographer Ajamu he established rukus! Federation (http://rukus.org.uk ) creating the UK’s first and only BLGBT Archive. In 2008 rukus! received the Archive Landmark Award by London Metropolitan Archive. As writer Topher has written articles for Sable, AXM Magazine, QX Magazine, Gay Times, Attitude Magazine and The Guardian. Published work includes: For Colored Boys, Black and Gay in the UK , On Freedom: Powerful Polemics by supporters of Belarus Free Theatre. Between 2006-08 Topher was a Programmer for the BFI London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival. Between 2008-2015 Topher was artistic director of The Red Room Theatre and Film Company. Topher is currently a Patron of Switchboard (switchboard.lgbt/patrons-2/) and staring Different for Girls (http://different-for-girls.com/ ). DFG is nominated for a Diversity in media Award 2017 and is available to view on Lesbian Box Office.
Highly Commended 2018
Xanthi Barker works as a learning mentor in a primary school and is studying child psychotherapy. Her previous jobs include waitress, tutor and hypnotist’s assistant. Her fiction has been published in Mslexia, Litro and Open Pen. She grew up in North London and still lives there.
You can read Paradoxical here: https://www.spreadtheword.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Paradoxical-by-Xanthi-Barker.pdf