Things have been a bit busy – day job, family doings, visitors and Malvern Writers’ Circle’s Young Writer of the Year Competition culmination. The award ceremony was last Friday night and rather awesome, despite my efforts (as MC) to derail proceedings. (I am always petrified, which really doesn’t help. I can talk; I can organise; I can’t do both at once on stage.)
We handed out certificates, money, medals and cups. The overall winners read their entries. Afterwards, each of the twenty winners collected a copy of their anthology, with splendid cover art from young artist Sophie Edkins-Blackett.
The biggest problem – which I mentioned on stage – is that the event is over far too quickly. The evening passes in a blur and I don’t have time to talk to the winners, their families or the sponsors for more than a moment. However, the event will – we hope – linger in the memories of the winners, as they look at their work published, perhaps for the first time.
This year we’ve said farewell to Graham Gardner (Inventing Elliot) as prose judge after seven years. As he was the evil genius who talked me into running it, he has a lot to answer for. But, as in one year, he single-handedly critiqued some forty-plus stories, I think he’s already paid his dues. It was that burden – as every story or poem entered is given a written (encouraging! well, mostly) critique – that persuaded us to ask for MWC volunteer critters. So for the last few years a group of our writers have taken on the task, each commenting on a few pieces of work. A few lines from the winning entries’ critiques accompany the piece in the anthology, to indicate why it was selected.
A MWC and friends effort – it’s great to work with such wonderful people.