After a year of planning, recruiting, collating, distributing and reading, Coronation Street actor Julie Hesmondhalgh and her writer husband Ian Kershaw are thrilled to announce the shortlist for the Sophie Lancaster Creative Writing Competition for 2011. The competition was set up by the couple and launched at the start of the year, in memory of the young woman who was murdered in 2007 because of the way she looked and dressed.
Julie and Ian have worked closely with Sophie’s mum, Sylvia, and the foundation she set up in memory of her daughter to send out invitations to state secondary schools across Greater Manchester, East Lancashire and Blackburn with Darwen, asking pupils to write a piece of poetry or prose on the subject of difference.
1033 young people from 55 schools across the region responded, and from this a shortlist of 26 was compiled. These entries will be published in a book, (thanks to the generosity of poet Mike Garry and Pelican Publications) the profits from which will go to the Sophie Lancaster Foundation.
A panel of super-judges including Salford legend Peter Hook, BAFTA award-winning actress Vicky McClure, poet Simon Armitage, Itch from The King Blues, John Robb, actor Will Ash, Corrie’s own Katherine Kelly and Katy Cavanagh, and Sylvia Lancaster whittled this down to a final 11, with a winner in each age category (11-13 and 14-16). The quality of the shortlisted work was “overwhelming, original and beautiful”.
A special awards night will be taking place at Contact Theatre Manchester at 8pm on Tuesday, November 8 where the final 11 pieces will be performed by famous faces from the telly world, including Katherine Kelly, Will Rush (Waterloo Road), Sally Carmen (Shameless) and Vicky McClure. The evening will be hosted by Julie Hesmondhalgh and the prizes presented by Sylvia, Sophie’s mum.
All 26 shortlisters will receive £20 and a copy of the SOPHIE book, and the two winners will receive £100, a specially commissioned trophy and £1000 for their school.
The following pupils made the shortlist (the final 11 in bold):
Katie Marie Swann (St. Matthew’s Moston)
Harriet Wright (Stockport School)
Katie Benson (Ashton-on-Mersey School)
Hannah Holly (St Gabriel’s RC High School, Bury)
Aleesha Broderick-Jones (Prestwich Arts School)
Hannah Board (Woodhey School, Rochdale)
Heidi Boyle (Woodhey School, Rochdale)
Lauren Davenport (Alder Community College, Tameside)
Elysse Hughes (Mossley Hollins High School)
Kira Stones (Little Lever School, Bolton)
Megan Killen (Flixton Girls High, Urmston)
Georgina Clarke (Flixton Girls High, Urmston)
Emma Connor (Tottington High, Bury)
Poppy Barry (Oasis Academy Mediacity)
Joanne Skelton (Sale High School)
Gemma Faye-Allt (Our Lady and St. John’s Blackburn)
Louis Brierley (Crompton House, Oldham)
Abbie Foster (St James’s CE School, Bolton)
Hannah Roddy (St Thomas More, Denton)
Abbie Kennedy (Radcliffe Riverside)
Sadia Mir (Norden High School)
Pete Barrett (Reddish Vale High School)
Tonia Osakwe (Reddish Vale, Stockport)
Chloe Flynn (Unity College, Towneley Holmes)
Paige Walmsley (Philips High School, Whitefield)
Eve Mair (St Anne’s RC, Heaton Chapel)
Our congrats to the winners!
For more information visit the official Sophie Lancaster Foundation website.