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Posthumous award for creator of literary award
THE woman who was one of the founders of Bridport Arts Centre has been awarded a posthumous award on the eve of the presentation of the prestigious literary prize she created.
Peggy Chapman-Andrews, who died in February, has been awarded the Special Recognition Award in the inaugural year of the Poetry Can South West Poetry Awards.
Judges said such was her impact on Bridport, the south west and consequently on poetry and writing in the UK that they could not pass up this opportunity to acknowledge her contribution.
Peggy was one of the founders of Bridport Arts Centre, 40 years ago in 1973, when the then arts society of which she was the secretary, purchased the old Methodist Chapel in South Street.
In the same year Peggy also founded the Bridport Prize, as a fundraiser for the arts centre, which has gone on to become one of the largest and most respected creative writing competitions in the country, bringing great prestige, as well as financial support, to Bridport.
Polly Gifford, director of Bridport Arts Centre and Frances Everitt, administrator of the Bridport Prize accepted the award in Peggy’s name.
Frances said: “Polly and I were honoured to accept the award on behalf of Peggy.
“The Bridport Prize offers a fantastic opportunity for emerging writers and we are certainly very conscious of Peggy’s legacy – I hope that we continue to run it in a way that would please her. What a marvellous thing she created.”
The Poetry Can was established in March, 1995 as a registered charity aiming to encourage as many people as possible within the Bristol, Bath and north east Somerset and south Gloucestershire areas to get involved in poetry activity.
Poetry Can is still based in Bristol but now supports the development of poetry across the whole of the south west region.
This year’s Bridport Prize will be awarded at the arts centre on Saturday, October 19.
Judged by Wendy Cope OBE, Michèle Roberts and David Swan, the 2013 awards have gone to Daisy Behagg from Bristol who has won the £5,000 first prize for poetry, Eve Thomson from Edinburgh who wins the £5,000 top short story prize and Nicholas Ruddock of Ontario, Canada wins £1,000 first prize for flash fiction.
Maiden Newton writer Virginia Astley has won a highly commended prize in the poetry category and she also wins the Dorset Award, a prize of £100, for the highest placed local writer, sponsored by The Book Shop, South Street, Bridport.
“Mention the Bridport Prize and the eyes of writers everywhere light up. It’s not just the money – though that's not to be sneezed at – it’s a prize really worth fighting for in terms of prestige and genuine literary accomplishment,” said Prize patron author Fay Weldon.