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Prize-winning writing celebrated as collection and competition launches

The prize-winning work of Cheshire writers who impressed judges with their inspiring words on environmental issues has been featured in a new anthology and celebrated at a launch event.

The Nature Dragon, Miracles, Salvage and Willow: A Song of the Woods are some of the thought-provoking pieces included in the new collection, It Means the World to Us, Writing from the Cheshire Prize for Literature 2021.

An event at Storyhouse on November 6 showcased the creative talents of the county scribes who triumphed in last year’s sustainability-themed competition, run by the cultural centre and the University of Chester, to become the anthology’s authors.

Through short stories, poetry, scriptwriting and children’s literature pieces, the writers discuss environmentally-friendly solutions, aspects of living in a ‘greener’ way and the implications of climate change for future generations. For the first time in the history of the competition, children’s categories were also included.

The afternoon also marked the opening of the free-to-enter 2022 Cheshire Prize for Literature competition. This year categories are again available from ages four upwards. Entries are invited from anyone who lives, works or studies in the historical or current county of Cheshire – including Wirral, Warrington, Halton and Stockport – or has done so in the past, exploring anything that inspires them.

Dr Si Poole, Associate Professor of Cultural Education at the University, Senior Leader in Cultural Education and Research at Storyhouse, chair of the judging panel and writer of the anthology foreword said:

“This collection deals with sustainability in a way that is often positive, optimistic, and dare I say ‘hopeful’?

“I would like to thank the judges for playing such an important part in making this competition such a success, to the entrants whose creativity never fails to inspire us, to colleagues at Storyhouse and the University for their contributions and to everyone who continues to support the Cheshire Prize for Literature in the wider community.

“The competition and resulting anthology reflect the key importance of culture in bringing people together for the benefit of society – it really does mean the world to us.”

The winners featured in the 2021 anthology are:

  • Poetry 14-16 years: Dannielle Jones with Often
  • Poetry 17-18 years: Daniel Johnson with Miracles
  • Short story 17-18 years: Molly Nash with This Cat Grows Old
  • Children’s literature 19-24 years: Eleanor Cullen with The Monster who Moved to Ecotown
  • Poetry 19-24 years: Connor Johnston with The Breadfruit Bone
  • Scriptwriting 19-24 years: Beth Westbrook with Awareness
  • Short story 19-24 years: Eve Naden with Salvage
  • Children’s literature 25 years and over: Laura Hall with Willow: A Song of the Woods
  • Poetry 25 years and over: Philip Williams with Pale Blue Dot
  • Scriptwriting 25 years and over: Ben Saunders with The Apple
  • Short story 25 years and over: Cathy Bryant with Interview.

The young winners are:

  • Poetry:

4-7 Emily Simpson with The World Needs Everyone’s Help

8-10 Esme Alice Blue with Things I Liked About Our Planet

11-13 Aurora Blue with A Letter to Earth

  • Stories:

4-7 Ella Catherine Barrett with One, Two, Tree

8-10 Maia Russell with The Nature Dragon

11-13 Eva Mallouris with What the World Once Was.

Runners-up included are:

  • Poetry 8-10 years: Sophia Morris-Jones with Bless Earth    
  • Children’s literature 19-24: Jenna Thirtle with Marsha’s Plan to Save the Sea
  • Poetry 25 years and over: Helen Kay with Duir
  • Short story 25 years and over: Yvonne Taylor with The Absence of Stars.

The 2022 competition is split into three age groups:

  • Primary (4-11) for short stories or poetry
  • Secondary (11-18) for short stories or poetry
  • Over 18 for short stories, children’s literature, poetry or scriptwriting.

More details on the 2022 competition and how to enter are available at:

The Cheshire Prize for Literature was founded in 2003 by the then High Sheriff, John Richards OBE DL, and Dr Bill Hughes from the University of Chester. It is one of the few free-to-enter literary competitions and offers not only a cash prize for the winners but also the rare opportunity for the best entries from the previous year to be published professionally by the University of Chester Press in an anthology edited by senior members of academic staff.

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