The 26 Project Award judging panel have, once again, been spoilt for choice. But after much deliberation, we have our winners. Read on to find out whose work has been recognised this year.
26 we’re here to inspire a love of words, in business and in life. We also want
to inspire our members. One of the ways we do this is by encouraging you to
take part in our writing projects. In 2016 we initiated the 26 Project Award in
recognition of the most outstanding work by contributing writers. It’s worth
remembering that anyone participating in a 26 project is in the running for
the 2018 award, the eligible projects were 26 Writers in
Residence, 26 Memory Maps and Armistice 100 Days. With 100 writers contributing 100
words (a centena), Armistice was 26’s biggest and most remarkable project to
date. It was run in collaboration with Imperial War Museums and culminated in a
website hosted by IWM, a book and an exhibition at Eames Fine Art on 11
November 2018, the 100th anniversary of
three of us on the judging panel had a hugely difficult job in choosing a
winner, faced, as we were, with a wealth of wonderful writing. The work across
all three projects was of a consistently high standard, and yet very varied in
style and content.
the depth of human experience conveyed in the Armistice project – with 100
writers each telling the story of a different individual alive during the First
World War – influenced the judging.
are pleased to announce that the overall winner is Miranda Dickinson for Waiting in Watson’s Portrait
for Armistice 100 Days.
two highly commended runners-up are Rowena Roberts for Unwritten:
Conflict in a dugout grave and Gillian Colhoun for I
know you by your name, again for Armistice.
were also impressed by Hester Thomas’s contribution to 26
Writers in Residence and Helen Jones’s for 26
Memory Maps, and would like to give them both a special mention.
made Miranda’s centena stand out, among the many moving stories about people
who had experienced the Great War, was its simplicity and its sense of
capturing a moment, most appropriate given her subject, her great-grandmother
Gertrude Evelyn Ellis, was in a photographer’s studio. She had recently married
Fred and her new husband has had to return to the Front in France. We feel
Gertrude’s hope and fear, as she stands in the studio posing for her wedding
given the winning writers the heads-up already so this announcement shouldn’t
come as too much of a surprise or shock. The advance notice means they’ve had
time to come up with some nice words about taking part.
what Miranda has to say:
“I love being part of 26 and was thrilled to be one of the
100 writers for 26 Armistice. It was an honour to tell my great-grandmother’s
story for this fantastic project, which gave such incredible insight into the
impact of war on people from all walks of life. I am chuffed to bits to receive
this award. Thank you so much!”
“It’s great being part of 26. The writers are so talented, the projects so meaningful, the creativity and sense of community so inspiring. I particularly enjoyed the Armistice project. There was a real sense of reverence around it; everyone who took part seemed to leave
their writer’s ego at the door and write out of a genuine
desire to accurately and respectfully represent their chosen one out of one
hundred souls alive at the time of WW1. Some of the other centenas
genuinely reduced me to tears, so I feel truly honoured to have my piece
“I’ve participated in a few 26 projects over the years.
They’re fantastic because they set creative briefs you won’t find in your day
job. They bring people together, nudging you to find new ways to collaborate.
They result in artefacts that you can read, touch and share. But the Armistice
project felt like something different. These stories from the past were so
detailed, so personal and yet so universal. As a collection, they are a shimmering
resource to the past that are more relevant than ever to our present. To have
Nurse Colhoun’s tribute highly commended among such beautiful writing is a
massive but lovely surprise. Thank you 26 for inviting me to take part.”
words indeed. All three writers underline how much they value the 26 community
and what it means to them to take part in a project, such as Armistice.
The 26 Project Awards will be
presented at a 26 members’ event in London in mid-May (we’ll be in touch soon
with an exact date). The winner will receive a ‘hot metal’ trophy and certificate; and the two runners-up will each
receive a certificate. The trophy and certificates are beautifully crafted
objects of desire, designed by typographer Phil Cleaver. The two other
shortlisted writers will receive their special mentions and no doubt a
resounding round of applause. The 26 Emerging Writer Award sponsored by Quiet
Room will also be announced at the event.
are most warmly invited to join us for the evening. If you’re in London, please
do come along.
Sue Evans, Wendy Jones and Martin Lee, 26 Project Award judging panel