Launched in 2008 under Manchester Metropolitan University's innovative Enterprise Fellowship scheme, the Manchester Writing Competition is designed to find and celebrate the best new writing, while generating income for creative projects run at the University and across the city.
The competition alternates annually between poetry and fiction and, since its launch, has attracted more than 3,000 entries from over 40 countries, all of which were judged anonymously.
This year's competition was for poetry and judges Simon Armitage, Lavinia Greenlaw and Daljit Nagra were delighted with the range of work submitted. Having chaired the panel, Armitage summed up the process: "The Manchester Writing Competition allows judges to look for strength of writing in depth, not just in single poems, and there was so much talent on display here. We have looked beyond competence and experience hoping to find courage and bravery in the writing, and believe we have been rewarded with a really exciting short-list and a truly worthy winner."
They selected six finalists, and the winners were announced at a prize-giving gala dinner at MMU on Friday 22nd October. This event formed part of the 2010 Manchester Literature Festival, and featured readings from all three judges and each of the six finalists before the prizes – £10,000 and a bursary for study at MMU – were awarded. To view pictures from the evening, click here.
Judy Brown *Winner*
Judy Brown was born in Cheshire and now divides her time between London and Derbyshire. Her pamphlet, Pillars of Salt was published in 2006 as one of the winners of Templar Poetry's pamphlet competition and her first collection is due from Seren in Autumn 2011. Judy won the Poetry London Competition in 2009 and, in 2005, received the Poetry Society's Hamish Canham Prize. Her poems have also appeared in Identity Parade: New British and Irish Poets (Bloodaxe, 2010) and the Forward Book of Poetry 2006.Click here for poetry.
John Wedgwood Clarke is the UK and Ireland editor of Arc Publications, and director of Bridlington Poetry Festival and Beverley Literature Festival. He also teaches poetry on the part-time creative writing degree course at the University of Hull.Click here for poetry.
Michelle Kern *Young Writer of the Year Award winner *
Michelle Kern was born and raised in New York, where she earned her B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College. She is a candidate for an M.F.A. from New York University where she serves as the Managing Editor of Washington Square, a biannual literary journal publishing fiction and poetry by emerging and established writers. She is currently working on an epitaph for her grandfather in the form of a book pinhole camera.Click here for poetry.
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Clive McWilliam has worked throughout Britain and abroad as a Landscape Architect and Illustrator and has his own practice in Chester. In 2010 he was short listed for the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem and awarded second prize in the Poetry London Competition. He won the Virginia Warbey Poetry Prize in 2008 and came third in The National Poetry Competition in the same year. Clive's work has appeared in The Rialto, Magma, Poetry London and Poetry Review and he has recently read with Carol Ann Duffy and Friends at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester. He is studying for an MA in Creative Writing at the Manchester Writing School.Click here for poetry.
Lesley Saunders' poetry publications include Christina the Astonishing, with Jane Draycott and artist Peter Hay (Two Rivers Press), Her Leafy Eye, with artist Geoff Carr (also Two Rivers Press), and most recently No Doves (Mulfran Press).
The poems in her shortlisted portfolio are from two recent writing residencies, one at Murray Edwards College, Cambridge, and the other at Acton Court, a Tudor house near Bristol built for Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn.
According to her husband, Lesley is a late developer at Scrabble; she shares a tandem but not a house with him.
She was joint winner, along with Mandy Coe, of the 2008 Manchester Poetry Prize.
Jack Underwood was born in Norwich in 1984. He graduated from Norwich School of Art and Design in 2005 and is currently studying towards a PhD in Creative Writing at Goldsmiths College, where he also teaches English Literature and Creative Writing. He is a librettist, musician and co-edits the anthology series Stop Sharpening Your Knives. He won an Eric Gregory Award in 2007 and was named a Faber New Poet in 2009. His debut pamphlet was published by Faber in October 2009 and his poems also feature in Voice Recognition: 21 poets for the 21st Century from Bloodaxe. He reviews for Ambit and Poetry London. He lives in Hackney.Click here for poetry.
If you have any queries, or would like to know more about the competition, please contact James Draper, Project Manager for the Writing School, on +44 (0) 161 247 1787 or email@example.com.
The Writing School will be launching The Manchester Fiction Prize in 2011.
Judges accommodation was provided by the Midland Hotel, Manchester