Spread the Word, Joanna Brown is up for an award

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JOANNA BROWN is in her infancy where authorship is concerned but undeterred by her lack of experience this north London teacher is primed to make her mark on the literary world.

First up for Brown, who is also a facilitator of creative writing workshops, including the literary education programme Africa Writes: Young Voices, which links poets to London school students, is the Spread the Word’s Life Writing Prize.

Last month she was longlisted with eleven other authors from a variety of backgrounds, whose pieces cover a range of themes from grief and loss to family, love and the NHS.

Brown’s story Birds can be heard singing through open windows, is a candid story of the relationship with her mother before and after her death, exploring how memory connects us to those lost.

Brown’s work was selected from over 900 entries across the UK. The winner is announced on June 3.

Now in its fourth year, the Life Writing Prize, in association with Goldsmiths Writers’ Centre, was established to find and develop the best new life writing from emerging writers.

Judges praised the ‘astounding’ quality of the longlist which explores overarching themes of immigration, #MeToo, religion, childhood, death, friendship, family, love, loss, infertility, bereavement, social change and the NHS.

The settings are international in scope, from the Yorkshire moors to Paris and the Philippines.

This year’s submissions were judged by the writers Kerry Hudson and Nell Stevens, and Sathnam Sanghera, an award-winning columnist and feature writer for The Times.

Ruth Harrison, Director of Spread the Word said: “Spread the Word is delighted to announce the exceptional writers on the Life Writing Prize longlist 2020. Now, more than ever, there is value in shared stories, reflecting what brings us together and what distinguishes us. We can’t wait to publish the online booklet and showcase these remarkably talented writers with you in June.

“During this unprecedented time, Spread the Word is committed to continuing our support for new and emerging writers, opening up space for connection and creativity, through offering free online workshops for writers in isolation.”

Further information about the prize and Spread the Word can be found here.

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