Thursday, 12 May 2011

'Fire-Fighting' wins writing competition

John Harold is the winner of the Natur Cymru Inspired by Nature writing competition sponsored by WWF Cymru and Tŷ Newydd, the national writers’ centre.

Gillian Clarke, the national poet of Wales and one of the judges, commented: I gave first place to John Harold for Fire-Fighting. This was the piece from which I learned most. I enjoyed the unfolding story of fire in the heathland and mountains, its power to destroy, to regenerate. Close behind was Frances Voelcker, for her observations on the changing natural environment of Graig Goch.’

Gillian Clarke will present John Harold with the £500 cash prize at the Hay Festival on 31st May and also present the £500 voucher for a residential course at Tŷ Newydd to Frances Voelcker.

James Robertson, editor of Natur Cymru, commented ‘The judges were unanimous in agreeing on the winners of the two prizes. Both were outstanding. First prize goes to John Harold for his original, powerful take on fire in the uplands. Second prize to Frances Voelcker, for her thoughtful, lyrical exploration of her mountain’.

Andrew Forgrave, rural affairs editor at the Daily Post and the other judge, described the two winning entries: ‘Fire-Fighting is an insider’s view of an issue that brings annual devastation to Welsh hillsides. Fire fighter or arsonist? Cleverly, the author bides his time before coming clean, and rounds off the piece nicely with some personal perspectives. Graig Goch is a lilting piece with a poetic quality. Lack of a strong narrative is off-set by some wonderful imagery and, at the finish, the writer’s bond with her subject is clearly felt. Impressive, challenging writing by a gifted wordsmith.’

Anne Meikle, Head of WWF Cymru, said: ‘WWF Cymru is delighted to have sponsored this year’s Natur Cymru writing competition. We hope reading such talented work will enthuse others into discovering the wonders of nature and some of the threats which they face.’

The equal runners up in the competition and the titles of their articles are as follows:

John Woolner    Welsh Dragon
Merlin Evans     A Little Bird Told Me
Julian Jones      Re-Wilding My Town

The winning articles will be published in the summer edition of Natur Cymru which celebrates its 10th anniversary. Prize giving at Hay will be on the RSPB stand at 3 pm Tuesday 31st May.


For further information please contact Huw Jenkins, Natur Cymru on 01766 590272

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