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Friday, May 17, 2024

Jessie Kesson Fellow and Bridge Awards Emerging Writer Winner Announced

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Moniack Mhor, Scotland’s Creative Writing Centre, has announced the 2024 Jessie Kesson Fellow as Daisy Lafarge and the Bridge Awards 2024 Emerging Writer Winner as Lishani Ramanayake.

Rachel Humphries, Centre Director at Moniack Mhor, said:

“Moniack Mhor’s writer development programme offers a holistic approach, giving support in ways that are unique to each writer.

“This can be through time and space on our residency programme or by providing a critical eye on developing manuscripts through mentoring.

“I’m delighted that we are supporting Daisy and Lishani through our awards programme, and working with such distinctive literary voices at differing stages of their career.”

The Jessie Kesson Fellowship provides residency time to develop new work for an established writer. 

The Fellow will also deliver creative writing workshops to community groups in the Scottish Highlands, drawing on the work of the late Scottish novelist and playwright, Jessie Kesson.

Daisy will be at resident at Moniack Mhor in September along with writers-in-residence from Aotearoa, Ukraine, Ireland, and Scotland.

Daisy said:

“I am so thrilled and honoured to be this year’s Jessie Kesson Fellow.

“The opportunity comes at a much-needed time in my life and writing practice, and I look forward to the generous time to write, think and share at Moniack Mhor and its extended community later this year.”

The shortlisted writers for this fellowship were Kerry Andrew, Courtney Conrad, James Fritz, Roshni Gallagher, Taran Khan and Cecilia Knapp.

The Bridge Awards Emerging Writer Award supports an outstanding writer at the beginning of their career.

Lishani Ramanayake

Lishani receives a package of courses, mentoring and retreats at Moniack Mhor worth £2000.

Lishani said:

“It is such a gift to be able to have the space and the time to dedicate solely to your writing, and I’m beyond thrilled to have won Moniack Mhor’s Emerging Writer Award.

“I’m deeply looking forward to being part of the community of writers that Moniack Mhor brings together – writing a novel can often feel like a solitary, uncertain undertaking, and I’m so grateful for the support that this Award offers.”    

Second-place finalist was David Edgardo Martinez and highly commended applicants were Frances Copeland, Lorna Elcock and Cal Bannerman.

This year’s Emerging Writer Award was co-judged by fiction writer, poet and essayist Vicky MacKenzie, who won the inaugural Award in 2015.

She said:

“I was truly dazzled by the standard of writing submitted to the Award this year.

“There were short stories and novels of enormous ambition and skill, spanning a vast array of times and places, from Sri Lanka to Stirling via Mexico and Spain, encompassing crime, horror, fantasy, eco-thrillers, YA, experimental writing and much else besides.

“If this is a snapshot of what is being written in the UK today, it is heartening that there is so much talent in the offing.”

Her fellow judge was Tracey Emerson, Creative Director of The Bridge Awards.

She said:

“As the Emerging Writer Award goes into its ninth year, it was immensely gratifying to see such a highly accomplished and diverse longlist of entries.

“To judge these entries alongside our inaugural winner, Vicky MacKenzie, made the experience even more special.

“I look forward to seeing our winning writers develop their exciting projects with the help of all that Moniack Mhor has to offer.”

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