WINNER: David Almond
DAVID Almond’s first novel for adults, The True Tale of the Monster Billy Dean, conjured up a dystopian world inhabited by an illiterate ‘Aynjel Childe’.
The Northumberland-based author, tells the story in the vernacular of a child who ‘wos tort to read & rite & spel by his tenda little muther’. [corr]
Of his nomination, David says: “It’s a real thrill. It’s wonderful to have this recognition here in the North East, where I was born and grew up, and which has given me my language, and so many of my characters and stories.
“Lately I’ve been spending a lot of time in the Lit & Phil in Newcastle, writing my new novel, The Tightrope Walkers and I’ve been enjoying the beginning of a beautiful Northumbrian spring.
“The last year’s been very busy for me, as always, and pretty productive. “There’s lots of doom and gloom around, of course, but it’s important to ignore much of what the boring cultural pessimists try to tell us, and crack on with our work and our lives.”
FINALIST: Alison Carr
AS successful years go for bright young writers, 2011 was somewhat of a corker for 30-year-old Alison Carr.
We are struggling for space, so it’s probably best to simply list some of her 2011 catalogue:
Her play Can Cause Death travelled from The National Theatre to Northern Stage; She got her first Radio Four commission for a play about a Dolly Parton impersonator (she also saw the lady herself at the Arena); Her first full length play for Live Theatre, The Girls from Poppyfield Close was premiered; She wrote one of four plays to celebrate the centenary of The People’s Theatre in Newcastle; She fine-tuned a new play for the RSC’s Open Stage project.
We’ll have missed something I’m sure… but surely that’s justification +benefits [corr] for her position on the shortlist!
Alison says: “It was a real surprise to see my name listed among the finalists.
“The region has so much great talent that I feel very privileged to be included, especially in a category alongside Michael Chaplin and David Almond.
“Last year saw a lot of projects come to fruition, as well as some new and unexpected opportunities pop up. I worked with some great people over the year, and enjoyed rehearsing The Girls From Poppyfield Close at Live Theatre, which was both hard work and fantastic fun – can’t ask for much more!”
FINALIST: Michael Chaplin
ADAPTING Chris Mullin’s diaries for the acclaimed A Walk On Part at Live Theatre and the publishing of a book chronicling the history of the Tyneside Cinema were just a duo of projects on Michael Chaplin’s output list in 2011.
And both would have been more than enough to secure his nomination in this category.
Of course that wasn’t all the prolific writer was up to.
He continued his residency at Port of Tyne, as well as working on plays and dramas for Radio Four and ITV respectively.
He says: “A lot of my work is in TV and radio and I work with and for broadcasters in London, but since I returned to live in Newcastle six years ago, I’ve been very keen to make a contribution to the cultural life of the region – hence my work for Live Theatre, my book about the Tyneside Cinema and a forthcoming book about the River Tyne.
It’s also nice to be recognised by The Journal, my first employer in the 1970s!
“I’ve gained equal pleasure from the success, in Newcastle and London, of A Walk On Part, the adaptation of Chris Mullin’s diaries and Come And See, my memoir of the amazing story of the Tyneside Cinema.
“The fact that both projects are rooted in the North-East proves once more what a great place this region is for a writer to live and work.”