We are delighted to announce the six recipients of the 2018 RSL Literature Matters Awards. The Awards aim to enable literary excellence and innovation, providing writers with financial support to undertake a new literary project. The judges this year are Jonathan Keates (chair), Imtiaz Dharker and Gillian Slovo.
£2320 – Matt Bryden – Lost and Found
A pamphlet of poetry based on a residency at Bristol Temple Meads train station. Jonathan Keates says the judges loved the ‘concept of a Railway Lost Property Office re-imagined in terms of myth and legend’.
£3000 – Michael Caines – Brixton Review of Books
A free literary newspaper to be published and distributed on a regular basis. Gillian Slovo admired the ‘intention to turn the usual tired giveaways to commuters into something that could provoke and expand an appreciation of literature in London.’
£3800 – Kate Clanchy – The Young Person’s International Dictionary of Rare and Precious Words
Working with schoolchildren, especially those from disadvantaged and refugee backgrounds, to collect precious words for ‘dictionary’ entries and an anthology. In Imtiaz Dharker’s view, ‘Kate Clanchy is someone who brings poetry out of students who often hardly speak at all, many of them migrants or refugees from war zones.’
£2800 – Owen Lowery – R. S. Thomas for a New Generation, The Poet Prevails
A production of poetry, music and film, inspired by the poetry of R. S. Thomas, with the composer Ellen Davies, Ensemble Cymru, the Royal harpist and choristers in Bangor Cathedral. In Jonathan Keates’s, view this ‘mixed-media homage to R. S. Thomas is a tribute long overdue, celebrating one of Wales’s most idiosyncratic and sharply-defined poetic voices.’
£3000 – Pascale Petit – Tiger Girl
A sequence of poems exploring foreignness, in the context of Brexit Britain and her grandmother’s Indian heritage.
Imtiaz Dharker says that ‘a new collection of poems by Pascale Petit is always something to celebrate. To each one she brings images worked in the round, electrified by language to be live and sensuous.’
£5000 – Evan Placey – Cat A
A new stage play exploring dementia and ageing in prisons.
Gillian Slovo considered this project ‘a wonderful example of writing’s ability to shine a light on the world we live in and, as well, to connect with diverse audiences and participants.’
£20,000 awarded annually for literature projects that seek to extend the reach of literature or demonstrate its impact in society.