Penny Walker and Julian Bishop came through as the winners of the Urban Tree Festival’s writing competition that attracted more than 160 entries, sharing “Secrets of the Trees”. They joined the other 10 shortlisted authors at the finale WRITE ABOUT TREES showcase that was compered by eco-poet and critic, Dave Borthwick.
Penny’s story “4Ever” was described as “beautifully concise” by Dave, and she told the showcase audience that she “is intrigued by the accidental rewilding that happens behind abandoned buildings and loves the way trees grow against obstacles. The story is an answer to the question of what happens to the things we carve in trees as children.”
When speaking about his poem “Warning: Dangerous Tree”, Julian Bishop, revealed that he lived on the “last road in London” and that “there’s a walk near his house that borders a school with a high wire fence and last year a sign appeared by a dead tree with WARNING DANGEROUS TREE written on it. A few months on, the tree is now cut up into logs (subject of yet another poem!) but the sign remains. It led him to wonder about the relationship between man and tree and how a tree might have more justification for a sign that said WARNING DANGEROUS PERSON…”
Rayna Haralambeiva story “Trees are Poems Sung by the Wind” was the runner-up, as was Em Gray’s poem “Evergreen” in the poetry category. The judges also singled out John Bowen’s poem”Jacaranda: Blue on Blue” for special mention. All five of the authors have received artwork prints by Alban Low, who illustrated the chapbook, “CANOPY – Secrets of the Trees” in which all 12 short listed poems and stories appear. Winners also received a monetary prize of €200 each, and with the runners-up each received a year’s Silver membership from competition organisers walk · listen · create. Copies of the CANOPY Chapbook are on sale to raise money for future Festivals – do please purchase copies from the Festival online shop.