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New award honours memory of author Laurie Lee

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Aspiring writers will be given the chance to showcase their talents by entering a competition to win cash prizes.

Open to unpublished Gloucestershire writers across a range of genres, the Laurie Lee Prize for Writing has been created to acknowledge and honour the work of the iconic Stroud writer.

The new prize was the idea of bestselling Stroud writer, Katie Fforde, and has been established under the umbrella of Stroud Book Festival with the blessing of Laurie Lee’s family, and his literary estate.

Two annual £1,000 prizes will be awarded, one of which will go to a writer aged under 25. Winners will be announced in October and invited to read their winning entries at a public Laurie Lee Prize event at Stroud Book Festival in November.

Submitted writing – whether fiction, non-fiction or poetry – must be on the themes of nature or conservation. The prize is open to writers currently resident in Gloucestershire, and to those who were born in the county. 

The 2022 judges are Katie Fforde (chair), Jessy Lee (Laurie Lee’s daughter), Norah Perkins (Laurie Lee’s literary agent), and Gloucestershire writers, Jamila Gavin, Adam Horovitz, and Jane Bailey.

Commenting on the creation of The Laurie Lee Prize for Writing, Katie Fforde said: “That Gloucestershire’s greatest writer didn’t have a prize in his name felt like an omission, so I decided to create one. I was thrilled when Stroud Book Festival took up the idea and am extremely grateful for the support of Laurie Lee’s family and for that of the judges. I hope that, in this 25th anniversary year of his death, some great writing will result to honour Stroud’s greatest literary son.”

Laurie’s daughter Jessy Lee said: “I’m very grateful to Katie Fforde and Stroud Book Festival for progressing such an inspiring idea. My father would have been very pleased to see local writers encouraged to put forward their work. It’s always heart-warming to keep Laurie’s name firmly alive – especially in the valleys of Stroud.”

The Laurie Lee Prize for Writing is open for entries between Monday, March 14th, and Monday, August 1st.

About Laurie Lee 

Laurie Lee was born in Stroud, Gloucestershire, in 1914, and was educated at Slad village school and Stroud Central School. At the age of 19 he walked to London and then travelled on foot through Spain, as described in his book As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning. In 1950 he married Katherine Polge and they had one daughter, Jessy. 

His bestselling Cider with Rosie (1959) has sold over six million copies worldwide, and was followed by two other volumes of autobiography: As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning (1969) and A Moment of War (1991). Laurie Lee also published four collections of poems, The Sun My Monument (1944), The Bloom of Candles: Verse from a Poet’s Year (1947), My Many-coated Man (1955) and Pocket Poems (1960), as well as A Rose for Winter (1955), The Firstborn (1964), I Can’t Stay Long (1975), and Two Women (1983). Village Christmas, an anthology of uncollected essays, was published posthumously. Laurie Lee died in May 1997 and is buried in Slad village graveyard.

About Stroud Book Festival

Stroud Book Festival is Stroud’s annual celebration of stories, ideas, and community for readers of all ages.

The seventh annual Festival will take place from November 2-6 in venues across Stroud, including the Sub Rooms, Lansdown Hall, Stroud Library and the Museum in the Park.

Please visit the Stroud Book Festival website for full details of eligibility criteria and how to enter, www.stroudbookfestival.org.uk

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