The Future Places Environmental Essay and Poetry Prize is a partnership between the Future Places Center at Lancaster University, Eden North, the Kendal Mountain Literature Festival, the publishers of Iceland and Saraband.
First place is essay category went to Lancaster resident Nicola Carter for her essay “Fragments on the Mountain Edge”.
Leonie Charlton, of Taynuilt, came second with “Recovering Ground” and Anna Fleming, of Edinburgh, was highly praised for “Dinorwig: Play and Resistance in a Post Capitalist Landscape”.
First place in the poetry category went to Jane Burn of Consett, Co. Durham for her poem “Love Affair with Next Door’s Birch”
JR Carpenter of Settle came in second with “what I’m looking for”. Is a Tongue ‘and George Richards, of Ledbury, received high praise for’ Boy Surfacing ‘along with Rose Proudfoot – Warrington for’ Trails’.
The UK-wide Environmental Literature Competition Award Ceremony took place at the Kendal Mountain Literature Festival on Saturday 20 November.
The judges searched for essays and poems that showed literary flair as a way to communicate that environmental and human change is not only possible, but is actually happening now.
The winning works received cash prizes and the works will be published with an accompanying article in Emergence magazine and the Saraband North Country nature anthology, in 2022.
The co-founder of Eden Project and executive vice president of Eden Project Ltd and executive president of Eden Project International Ltd, Sir Tim Smit KBE, chaired the jury.
He said: “I am delighted with the wealth of editorial staff that the Future Places Prize has discovered. The participants gave us all great pleasure, and the quality of the judges’ comments are works of art in their own right.
Author and writing professor in Lancaster University’s Department of English and Creative Writing, Jenn Ashworth, judged the essays.
Commenting on the winning entry, Professor Ashworth said: “This is a bold and innovative account of the exploration and interdependence of adits – the essayist reminds us that the climate crisis is also a spiritual crisis. “
Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Exeter, Dr John Wedgwood Clarke judged the poetry section.
Commenting on the winning entry, Dr Clarke said: “What I love about this poem is the way it transports me to the heart of its subject matter with so much energy, fluidity and precision. “
Awards organizer Karen Lloyd, writer in residence at the Future Places Center at Lancaster University, said:
“If we are to successfully navigate our future relationship with the world around us – a world that we know has failed completely – then literature, with its capacity for careful, generous and far-reaching communication, can exist and does exist as a powerful force to explore change and to renegotiate our relationship with nature.
“The bringing together of our partners and sponsors has created a sort of dream team of voices that place our future environments at the heart of the matter. “