English and Creative Writing Department Launches Annual Writing Awards

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The University’s English and Creative Writing Department has launched the first of what it hopes will become an annual creative writing competition for first-year college and sixth-form students across the country.

Head of Department Professor John Schad described the Awards’ core commitment “to uncovering and celebrating the very best of sixth-form writing,” by stating that “[t]hese awards are an exciting new venture which […] will encourage sixth-form students across the country to develop their work as literary critics and/or creative writers”.

The first instance of the Department’s Writing Awards, which include categories in Criticism, Fiction and Poetry, is open to any student in Year Twelve and offers students the opportunity to win cash prizes as well as a chance to be published in Lancaster’s literary magazine, Cake, which specialises in publishing “the best in new writing, be it poetry, flash fiction or insightful reviews of new work.”

Judging the competition will be members of the University’s own literary elite, including critic and Distinguished Professor of English Literature Terry Eagleton as a judge for the Criticism category, and Paul Farley, who was recently nominated for the prestigious T. S. Eliot Prize for Poetry, as a judge of the Poetry category. Also adding the benefits of their own experience and insights will be Helen Farish and Graham Mort (Poetry), and Jenn Ashworth, George Green and Zoe Lambert (Prose).

Current students of the University are being asked to spread the word by contacting their old schools and colleges with details of the competition. By entering into the contest, young writers will have the chance to showcase their talents and secure recognition for their writing potential. It is also hoped that engagement with Further Education students interested in English and Creative Writing will foster links that will endure as they come to make their university applications: Professor Schad indicated his hope that the event would “develop the profile of the Department amongst potential applicants.”

Lindsey King, the Part II Secretary for the Department, confirmed that over two and a half thousand schools across the country had received notice of the competition via email, and that those orchestrating the event were “look[ing] forward to receiving [the] first entries soon.” Social media websites have also been utilised in reaching out to as many aspiring writers as possible.

King added, “I think it’s a different way of getting students who might not think about Lancaster involved and interested.”

The closing date for entries is January 31st 2013, with the longlist due for publication in March and the shortlist in April. The announcement of the winning entries will be conducted in conjunction with Lancaster’s Sixth Form Conference, planned for July 2013, when a series of creative and critical seminars will also take place.

Further details and entry forms are available from: http://www.lancs.ac.uk/fass/english/undergrad/lancasterwritingawards.htm

Enquiries can be forwarded to: lancasterwritingawards@lancaster.ac.uk

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