Lockdown winners announced.

The winners of Bath & North East Somerset Council library service’s ‘Lockdown’ writing competitions have been revealed online by local authors and poets.

The Bath-based writer Bel Mooney and Chris Beale, a performance poet from Bristol, were among the writers who appeared in a series of videos to announce the winners and runners-up on Saturday (13 June) from a total of 60 entries.

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Bel Mooney reading Clare Reddaway’s short story on YouTube.

Adults were invited to submit either a short story or a poem online on the theme of ‘Lockdown’ in competitions designed to give people a creative outlet as they adjusted to restrictions on everyday life. The competitions were part of the council’s virtual library launched on March 30 to keep residents reading through digital content and online events via the libraries’ social media accounts.

The prize for the best short story was won by Clare Reddaway with judges commenting that it “caught our attention, finding light, hope and happier days where there only seemed despair”.

The winning poem titled ‘In Spite Of/Because Of’ by Anna Hoghton was referred to as “the poem that wouldn’t go away” by judges who praised its pace and the way it encapsulates the spirit of lockdown.

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Chris Beale read Anna Hoghton’s winning poem on YouTube.

The videos, also featuring local authors Rachel Ward, Tanvir Bush, June Wentland and poet Sophie Dumont, can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL9JE6hqzoLeVArKt73xfPdmphxVEvu23q

Councillor Paul Crossley, cabinet member for Community Services, said: “We have had so much positive feedback for our virtual library offer from residents across the district. Enjoying literature and feeling connected to the rest of the community have been so important to people’s wellbeing during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Thank you to everyone who sent us an entry for the Lockdown competition and congratulations to our winners and runners-up, who produced some engaging creative writing for us all to enjoy. I hope this success not only continues to inspire them but will inspire others to have a go at writing too.”

Anna Hoghton said: “I’m over the moon to have won. I honestly never expected it! Thanks to all the judges for your kind words and comments, I particularly enjoyed reading the reasons as to why you liked the poem and am so glad that it stuck with you. Chris Beale’s reading is fantastic and I look forward to sharing the video with pride.”

The short story runners-up are Sam Cook and Gaye Davis and the poetry runners up are Ruth Wear and Rachel Dennis. All prize winners will receive digital book vouchers for Mr B’s Emporium. The project was a collaboration between the library service, Bath Spa University, Bath Record Office and Mr B’s Emporium.

For more information about accessing the council’s library services visit https://beta.bathnes.gov.uk/library-and-information-services