Founder of city’s writing group wins award

Sunderland author Iain Rowan with his award. Photo by Topher McGrillis.
Sunderland author Iain Rowan with his award. Photo by Topher McGrillis.

An author who has turned his attentions to crime writing has captured a prize in a competition which champions the North’s writing talent.

Iain Rowan collected a title for his crime novel’s work-in-progress at the Northern Writers’ Awards.

I’m in an uncomfortable position as a writer: it’s hard to find the words to express how much this award means to me.

Iain Rowan

The celebration aims to recognise talent and support new work towards publication or broadcast, with awards for writers at different stages of their careers, including mentoring, developmental support and cash awards to buy time to write.

Iain, who was among 26 winners to be awarded a share of a £40,000 fund, collected the Arvon Award for his work on Going Under.

He is working on a rewrite of the novel and the prize will fund a retreat to work on the piece.

He said: “I’m in an uncomfortable position as a writer: it’s hard to find the words to express how much this award means to me.

“It will give me invaluable time and space to write, but I am also so grateful for the warm encouragement that such an award brings, and delighted to join the community of past, current and future winners.”

Iain was first published when he was 10-years-old with a poem in a print anthology and broadcast on radio and has had more than 30 short stories published.

He has previously been shortlisted for the Crime Writers’ Association Debut Dagger, for the Bath Novel Award, and for the Northern Writers’ Award.

Iain is director and founder of the month-long Sunderland Festival of Creative Writing, which ran in 2016 and in 2018, and he founded the writers’ group Holmeside Writers, which has been running in Sunderland for more than four years.

He has also led collaborations between writers and the Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, has been a judge in each year of the Sunderland Shorts Film Festival, and was one of a group of writers invited to represent new British writing at the Zocalo International Book Fair in Mexico City.

Claire Malcolm, chief executive of New Writing North, said: “The North is a hotbed of writing talent and I’m looking forward to seeing this year’s work that we are supporting come to fruition.”

The awards are produced by New Writing North with support from Northumbria University and Arts Council England.

The full run of awards is made possible by a range of vital partnerships with And Other Stories, Arvon, Bonafide Films, Channel 4, Lime Pictures, The Literary Consultancy, Oneworld Publications, The Society of Authors, and Word Factory.

For more information visit www.northernwritersawards.com.