Unlocked: Writing from the Cheshire Prize for Literature 2020
Who could have anticipated the vicissitudes of the last year? And while the stark changes in our lives were pulling us together as a society, as we coped with what was unfolding, the quieter, often isolated time that followed allowed many to focus on writing. Lockdowns across the country may have created all kinds of problems for different people, but one of the positives that seems to have been unlocked across our county, and very probably across the country, was our individual creative potential. These pages are just one example of those isolated endeavours coming together into a collective expression of individual experience. This anthology is an incredibly unique publication, not only for how it documents this strange moment in time, but more importantly for how it reminds us of our need to explore, unravel, pose ‘what-ifs’, in order to make sense of the world: and the benefits of writing for our own wellbeing.
The Cheshire Prize for Literature was inaugurated in 2003 as the High Sheriff’s Cheshire Prize for Literature. It is administered by the University of Chester. The 2020 competition was for poetry, short fiction, children’s literature and scriptwriting as a celebration of the creativity from the pandemic and this anthology contains the entries shortlisted for the prize, including the winners and the runners-up. Details of the prize are available at www.chester.ac.uk/literatureprize.
Aside from the sheer variety of writing, immediate and alive as an ambulance at full speed, is the importance of the work which feels an essential historic document of wonders that we will return to after the pandemic is well and truly behind us. Impressive, exciting and memorable!
George Alldred, Esther Amis-Hughes, Sheila Blackburn, Joy Bryce, Matthew Byrne, Janys Chambers, Leon Coleman, Tim Elgood, Dick Gilpin, Jennifer Gray, Angi Holden, Chris Hollis-Thompson, Kemal Houghton, Carol Howard, Paul Howarth, Simon James, Helen Kay, Rebecca Kershaw, Zoë Lambrakis, Morgan McIntyre, Julie McKiernan, Chris Nelson, Caitlin Norbury, Yvonne Oliver-Redfern, Dana Roberts, Roberto Rodriguez, Nicola Russell Johnson, Ben Saunders, Joanne Stokes, Jane Thomas, Sheila Tyrer Hughes
Simon E. Poole and William Stephenson (Editors), Unlocked: Writing from the Cheshire Prize 2020, 2021, ISBN 978-1-910481-10-3, £10.99
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