Last year at this time I was still writer-in-residence at a women’s prison in the North of England and we ran our own Orange Prize sequence in parallel with the national competition. In this seriously conceived yet fantastically enjoyable project a group of interested women prisoners were joined by myself, librarian Charlie Darby Villas, the then Head of Learning and Skills, Avril Joy, and another governor. We all read the final six novels, reviewed them, and discussed them round-table in democratic style. Everyone’s opinion had equal respect, no matter what their status. The discussions were great. We came up with our winner, which, we were pleased to note was the same as that chosen by the national panel.
This year I am delighted to see that the tradition is being continued single handedly by the wonderful Charlie DV. You will see a great interview with him in the guardian at (click below)http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2009/jun/03/prison-book-club
His view on the value of this project reflects everything we worked for in the Learning Shop in the years I was there. When I read the article here in France I clapped my hands so loudly you must have heard it across the Channel!
Well done, Charlie – this bodes well (I hope!) for your parallel Durham Book Festival in November. See you then!
Talking of awards, I’ve got one! I’ve been given this SISTERHOOD AWARD by a very popular ‘life of a cook’ blog Love and a Licked Spoon
Among other more deserving bloggers, Licked Spoon said
“Wendy at A Life Twice Tasted which, despite it’s name, isn’t about food at all. It’s a fascinating insight into a writer’s daily life. Wendy Robertson’s written shelf-loads of great novels over the years and has taught creative writing to everyone from school children to prisoners. She also happens to be my wonderful, inspirational, brilliant mum.”
There you are - delightful and delicious nepotism.
On her site as you will see, I responded:
“Thank you! What a paradox it is for a non-cooking mother to be given an award on the best (excuse my pride) cooking blog in cyberspace.
And a Sisterhood award is especially nice as it seems that licked spoon attracts a great bunch of witty sister-cooks who know oodles about cooking. It's an honour to find myself among them, even though the only thing I taste (twice!) is life.
I'll go and boil an egg to celebrate.
Debora, you're a peach!”
The spin off for me in this award is to reflect yet again how lucky I am in my children. For me, with them, it’s been spin-offs all the way.
Q WHAT AWARD WOULD YOU GIVE OUT TO SOMEONE SPECIAL IN YOUR READING AND WRITING LIFE OR IN LIFE IN GENERAL?
I think I’ll inaugurate my own award,
called the GOLDEN NOTEBOOK AWARD
for the blogger, writer, follower, or reader,
who bubbles over with positive thoughts about writing.
Watch this space.