At the Sound Walk Stories Sunday showcase event of new writing, at which the shortlisted poems and stories from our 2023 Walking A/way themed writing competition, were read by their inspiring authors, we learnt which of them walked away with the prizes.
Frequent attendee of Walking Writers’ Salons, Amelia Hodsdon told us that her winning story “arrived fully formed”. Entitled I could, You know, I could is something she often thinks about after she has walked her kids to school, savouring some magical realism on the way home. Amelia “was also inspired by the recent Walking Writers’ Salon event with the writer Gail Simmons, and her mention of the Long Man of Wilmington chalk figure. Where is the line between dream and reality, and how will we be remembered?”
Tree-lover Shani Cadwallender who was unable to attend the showcase, wrote about what inspired her to write her winning poem stump speech: “This piece was inspired by my research for my creative-critical PhD project at Birkbeck, which is about the representative strategies used by marginal women poets of the nineteenth century to depict trees. Jonathan Bate’s excellent recent book, ‘Radical Wordsworth’, makes the connection between metrical feet and literal ones, which my poem picks up in a consideration of how positionality shapes the types of nature to which we are exposed, and over which we feel ‘ownership’.”
So impressive was the quality of poems submitted in the competition, that poetry judges, Ralph Hoyte and this year’s poet-in-residence Tony Horitz, chose two poems as runners-up. They were Serenade by EilÍn de Paor and Anna in the Ashes by Jan Martin. Chris Cuninghame‘s East of Woolwich was the runner-up in the story category.
Winners receive Silver membership of walk · listen · create for a year and the honour of becoming our 2023/4 online writers-in-residence, and so will be choosing the theme for next year’s competition. They also win, as do the runners-up, a print of the artwork that Alban Low created in response to their pieces.
Congratulations to all the shortlisted authors: Ricky Abbott, Shani Cadwallender, Kevin Cheeseman, Lorraine Collins, Chris Cuninghame‘, EilÍn de Paor , Amelia Hodsdon, Rosaleen Lynch, Jan Martin, Isabela Mead, and Richard Westcott.
We would like to thank R.M. Francis who expertly compered the showcase; Cheryl Markosky and Tony Horitz who each read work they had created during their online residencies, as well as acting as judges; joined in judging by Ralph Hoyte and S.A.Greene. We would especially like to thank Alban Low for his beautiful artwork, and Chris Bestwick for editorial, and to both of them for publishing the anthology.