Letter from the President Sunday 25 April 2021

Dear Members,

Earlier this week, Evie Wyld’s novel, The Bass Rock, was announced  as the 2021 Stella Prize winner. Have you read it yet? I have added it to my reading list. If you missed the online award ceremony and are interested in hearing the shortlisted writers discuss their views on “If They Could Talk: On Voice and Voicelessness”, then you can view the recording HERE.

Chair of the 2021 Stella Prize Judging Panel, Zoya Patel, says “The Bass Rock is a consuming and perplexing book, one that forces the reader to think and engage with the unique narrative structure, but in a way that feels effortless, so engaged are you by the story. This is a novel that demonstrates the author’s versatility of style, with the separate narrative parts each having an individual voice. And yet, at no point does the book feel disjointed. Instead, it is as though Evie Wyld has chosen each and every word with precision, building a novel that is a true work of art.”

According to the judges, The Bass Rock is a novel that weaves together the lives of three women across four centuries. “It explores the legacy of male violence and the ways in which these traumas ripple and reverberate across time and place for three central female characters. Each woman’s choices are circumscribed, in ways big and small, by the men in their lives. But in sisterhood there is the hope of survival and new life.”

Although Evie Wyld’s book is fictional, the final sentence of the above paragraph reminded me of Di Websdale-Morrissey’s keynote address at the Society’s event for International Women’s Day earlier this year. I  am looking forward to hearing more from Di at the meeting on Friday 30th April at 11am at Library at the Dock, when she will be talking about creative-non fiction.

Di’s presentation will be followed by a presentation from Tasha Marsh, Adult Literacy and Outreach Support Librarian, who will talk about delving into databases, familiarise yourself with family history and cast around catalogues and will explain about the resources Library at the Dock has on offer to help your writing. It promises to be an interesting and informative meeting and it might just be the thing needed to help those of us who found our writing stalled during lockdown last year.

Of course, there are members whose writing flourished during lockdown and I am very much looking forward to reading this year’s COVID-themed submissions to Sparx.

This year’s Sparx will also include the winning entries to the Kathryn Purnell Poetry Prize. I am delighted to announce that poet Tegan Schetrumpf is this year’s prestigious judge and member Suzanne Benson has taken on the role of Receiving Officer for the competition. 

There is still plenty of time to submit to Sparx and enter the Katherine Purnell Poetry Prize, but don’t leave it to the last minute and miss out on the opportunity. The Society encourages members at all stages of their writing careers and especially looks forward to hearing from new members.

On the subject of new members, I would like to extend a warm welcome to Gay Collins and Karen Meyer and I look forward to meeting you in person at a future meeting.

Until next week, happy writing,


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