Tim Flanagan of the Stray Ferret, seen above presenting the Jack Moss rose bowl to Susan Perkins, did a very thorough job for us this year. Maggie Cobbett was in second place and Solvig Choi in third.
The theme of writing was widely interpreted by the different entrants with Tim’s comments précised as follows:
If It’s Not Written Down, It Never Happened: A well-constructed entry exploring the use of writing from both a professional and personal perspective. It draws on the writer’s experience of the perils attached to professional recordings when working in Children’s Social Services. It also gives their reflections on the recording of mundane events in family life and their belief that writing can be a powerful tool.
Some Writers and a Reader: This piece addresses why books get written and the way the reader reacts to them. A wide range of literature is considered in this well-researched and structured piece. Some of the books mentioned were read as a result of reviews in The Times or The Sunday Times, and Tim felt this writer would make a good book reviewer themselves.
Writing: What’s It For?: A beautifully-written piece supported by examples ranging from a Biblical text to a recipe for a Christmas pudding, all giving a different perspective on the purpose of writing. Tim decided that the skilful use of the supporting materials along with the blending in of personal anecdotes made this the winning entry.
Ideas Are Where You Find Them: Tim enjoyed this piece from a writer who admitted to being an unashamed eavesdropper, as from a journalist’s perspective a story often develops from something overheard. He enjoyed the concise and entertaining way in which the author described how they found and used their sources of inspiration.
He awarded it second place in the competition.
A Sprinkling of Latin: This piece explored the premise that the root of evil is greed, and takes the reader on an international journey that looks at bribery, freedom of the press and journalistic practices. It contains a mixture of references from the jailing of journalists to the tales of Chaucer and is well-constructed and thought-provoking. He awarded it third place in the competition.
Blood on the Typewriter: the reference to the typewriter took Tim back to his early days in journalism, and relates to an Ernest Hemingway quote about writing being easy. You just sit down at the typewriter and bleed. The piece is based on the author’s selection of eight books to take to a desert island and the function of writing in each of this broad-based collection.
Don’t Write Yourself Off!: a well-researched, informative and thought-provoking piece about writing being a living, breathing thing that is constantly expanding. It considers word selection and how a writer can retain the interest of their reader. Tim felt it was important to consider exactly who their reader was and agreed with the author how important it was that we all learnt from the writing of others.
Entries not read out during the evening will be given precedence at the meeting on 11th October, which will be for members’ manuscripts and a book sale.