Members’ news round-up: Gary Bills, Pnina Shinebourne, Christopher M James, Yvonne Reddick, Alison Lock, Coral Rumble, S K Grout, Jo Burns

Congratulations to Gary Bills, a runner-up in the 2020 Robert Frost Poetry Contest for his poem ‘Change After Whispers’. Hailing from Ledbury, Herefordshire, Gary was the only British poet in the list of ten.

Pnina Shinebourne is longlisted for her novel-in-verse Unbridled Messiah in the Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize. The longlist for the Prize, now celebrating its 10th year, reflects the variety and wealth of literary talent among unpublished female writers aged 21 and over. The authors selected for the 2020 longlist now face a tense wait as the judging panel agree a final shortlist of authors, to be announced later this year.

Christopher M James is the Open Prize winner in the Page is Printed Creative Writing Competition 2020 for his poem ‘Dermochelys Coriacea’. The competition is organised by the Tacchi-Morris Arts Centre, a multipurpose space in Taunton that provides arts activities for the whole community.

The competition judge said:

An intriguing title but a quick Google revealed it’s the Linnaean name for a leatherback sea-turtle and once I realised that, I really appreciated the precision and care with which you describe the amazing creature and the moving event of its emergence from the sea – lovely lines like ‘coming up on crutches/uneven morse surges on/Mayday sand’ to evoke the turtle’s motion up the beach. I like the way poem rewards the work you put into it and slowly unfolds its pictures and significance, a bit like the way the creature reveals itself out of the sea; the way you start the poem by referring to a different but related event; the sparseness of the punctuation; the control and shape of it on the page and that moving final couplet: ‘eyes streaming on skin rind/like an old, old child’s.’ It feels like a lot of work and craft has gone into this poem – another worthy winner!

Yvonne Reddick has won a national grant of £92,700 from the Arts and Humanities Research Council and will work with Magma poetry magazine to help inspire others to write about environmental issues. The two-year Leadership Fellowship, will see Yvonne developing new ways to write about the burning issue of climate change and the oil industry. Yvonne, who will write, research and publish the poetry, described the grant as career-changing and added:

“Human beings have changed the climate, exploited the oceans, and mined the bedrock beneath our feet. We are living through the Earth’s sixth mass extinction. Geologists are proposing that we have entered the ‘Anthropocene’ – a new time-period shaped by human actions. But not everyone is equally affected by these environmental changes.”

Alison Lock was shortlisted in the Hedgehog Poetry Press ‘Selected or Neglected’ Book Collection Competition.

Coral Rumble has been Commended in the 2020 Caterpillar Poetry Prize judged by Roger McGough. The Prize is awarded annually to a single unpublished poem written by an adult for children.

S K Grout was a finalist in the Puerto del Sol 2020 Poetry Competition for her poem ‘il y a toujours du brouillard’. Puerto del Sol is published by MFA candidates at New Mexico State University. It provides a forum for inventive and fresh prose, poetry, reviews, criticism, and artwork.

Jo Burns has won the Listal Single Poem Award 2020, part of Listowel Writers’ Week – Ireland’s oldest literary and arts festival – for her poem ‘Terminarch’.

5 June 2020