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Winners and new patrons for Bridport Prize
AS the winners for the Bridport Prize are announced, the international writing competition signs up new prestigious patrons.
These include former poet laureate Sir Andrew Motion and novelists Tracy Chevalier, Rose Tremain, Patrick Gale and Ali Smith.
Prize co-ordinator Frances Everitt said: “In its 40th anniversary year, the Bridport Prize is delighted to announce these renowned writers have offered their support as patrons.”
Fay Weldon, who has championed the prize for many years, continues as honorary patron.
Several of the new patrons are previous winners – Paul Farley and Tobias Hill both won prizes in the 1990s. Sir Andrew Motion, pictured, said: “The Bridport Prize is one of the most cherished in the whole landscape of contemporary poetry – because it has such a strong record of choosing good winners, of making new reputations, and of fostering new talent.
“I’m honoured to be patron of the prize, and look forward to seeing who it discovers next year, and the year after, and the year after...”
Novelist Rose Tremain added: “This is an excellent prize and I was surprised by the high standard of submissions for the short story.
“The short story is a demanding and petulant form, nearer to poetry than it is to the novel and difficult to master. “The Bridport Prize, by showcasing and rewarding good short story writers, is making an important contribution to the literary life of the country.”
Ali Smith said: “The Bridport Prize is a trusted gauge for writing of talent and quality.”
As well as the main winners the prize always recognises Dorset talent with a special £100 prize for local talent donated by The Bookshop in Bridport.
This year it was won by a Maiden Newton writer, Virginia Astley, who won highly commended for her poem ‘How did I ever think this would be ok?’.
It was Virginia Astley’s poem that took the eye of poet and competition judge, Wendy Cope, who said: “During those weeks of judging I found that certain poems came to mind when I was going about my everyday business or just sitting quietly with a cup of tea.
“They were memorable. I enjoyed thinking about them and looked forward to reading them again.”
Judging The Bridport Prize 2014 competition is Liz Lochhead for poetry, Andrew Miller for short stories and Tania Hershman for flash fiction.