Richard Booth Prize for Non Fiction and Seasonal Changes

We are delighted to announce the results of our annual non-fiction competition.

This popular competition again received a good number of entries from both inside and outside Hay Writers’ Circle and we very much welcome external interest in all our writing competitions.

Our memorial prize, named in tribute to Richard Booth, the self-proclaimed “King of Hay”, who among many literary interests, was a keen supporter of the Hay Writers’ Circle. He sadly passed away in 2019, still in love with books, writers and his beautiful kingdom of Hay-on-Wye.

The judge this year was the wonderful Gilly Smith who has written encouraging comments on all the winning pieces. Thank you Gilly.

Without further delay, here are the results :

The Richard Booth Prize for Non-Fiction Competition 2022

Third Place – A Brief Encounter – Michael Eisele

Second Place – Jubilee Summer – Michelle Pearce

First Place – Angels – Lily Rose King

 First Place – Judge’s comments

This is such a beautifully poignant essay on life and death, motherhood and childhood, love and loss. I love the tiny detail – hours spent giggling over slow cigarettes – juxtaposed with the profound reflections on what life and love is really all about. The lack of names makes it a universal story while the detail, again shared by so many of us, makes it belong to the protagonist alone. It’s about everything that is important in life. 

Second Place – Judge’s comments

This is such a lovely memory which so many of us will share – not just the legs sticking to the seat in the back of the family car en route to a British summer holiday, but that moment when Elvis died. The detail took me right back! As I read it on the hottest day in recorded memory, I can smell the country lanes and bouncy seats of that old Anglia! 

I think it would have worked better if the memory hadn’t been challenged at the end. I’d prefer to stay in ‘the grey curl of the sea, the smudged lift of the sky’ sharing a moment in our collective memory!

Third Place – Judge’s comments

This is such a wonderful slice of life, a chance meeting of two souls, one able to capture the other, the other waiting to be captured. Its colloquial style lends itself to its authenticity and the fleeting moment shared by observer and someone whose experience taught them both something new about the temporariness of life. Delightful!

Seasonal Changes for Hay Writers’ Circle

September arrives and marks a change of season. Gone are those long, languid but brilliant days of summer and into the foreground the harvest comes, bringing darkening evenings and that first hint of frost.

This year September also brings a change in chairperson for the Hay Writers’ Circle. For the last two years Jean O’Donoghue has steadfastly guided the group through lock-down lows and post-pandemic highs. Jean has continually enabled the group to thrive and write well. She’s bolstered our confidence during this year’s wonderful Hay Festival performance and embraced new opportunities such as zoom and email meetings when we wallowed in our homes unable to leave.

As Jean steps back from being our Chair, we extended our heartfelt gratitude for her years of hard work and service to the group.

We also welcome our newly elected Chairperson, Katharine Stones and wish her lots of good fortune and exciting opportunities over the coming years.

Also stepping down this year is Kerry Hodges who has been our Competitions Secretary for some years. Kerry has been an absolute asset with deft organisational skills collating all the paperwork, managing correspondence and communicating with judges for all 3 of our yearly competitions. Each year our competitions have garnered more and more entries, and Kerry has been fantastic. Thank you Kerry.

We now welcome Lily Rose King to the position of Competition’s Secretary for Hay Writers’ Circle and wish her well in her new role.

Other members of HWC committee remain the same. Mark Bayliss – Secretary, Alan Oberman – Treasurer and Emma van Woerkom – Website and Social Media Manager.

After enjoying a month (mostly) in the sun, we are all itching to get back to writing again. Here are some of the group at our last meeting in Cusop Village Hall. The eagle-eyed among you may notice some cakes in the centre of the table – these were naturally for incentive purposes only … although Jean’s smile says otherwise!

Happy Writing!


About thehaywriters

The Hay Writers : a highly active & forward thinking writing group based in Hay-on-Wye, the world famous 'Town of Books'. ✍️ In 2019 we celebrated our 40th anniversary.
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