Major Booker Prize literary awards link-up for Doncaster

Doncaster has been named as The Booker Prize for Fiction’s partner for its regional events in 2020.

Friday, 18th September 2020, 10:00 am

The partnership with Doncaster Creates, the dynamic arts programme set up to nurture creativity in the town, will see a series of literary events taking place over the next few months including a search for local writing talent.

Ros Jones, Mayor of Doncaster, welcomed the news: “I am so proud that Doncaster has been chosen to partner with such a legendary literary giant as The Booker Prize – this is a major achievement for us and I am delighted at the news.

“So many people in Doncaster will be excited about this partnership and I am certain this partnership will bring such positive and lasting legacy for book lovers and writers alike.

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Judge Lemn Sissay, 2017 shortlisted writer Fiona Mozley and this year's shortlisted novels

“I am looking forward to seeing the range of events take place and would encourage the borough to get behind this.”

Following the announcement of the 2020 Booker Prize’s much-awaited shortlist, Doncaster Creates have revealed three major projects this autumn that accompany the lead-in to the coveted prize.

On, Friday 13 November, there will be a digital discussion with the six shortlisted authors, in the lead-up to the winner announcement.

A week later, 2017 shortlisted author Fiona Mozley and current Booker judge the writer and broadcaster Lemn Sissay, will host a live-streamed open mic event, reading passages from their work side by side with Doncaster writers.

York-based Fiona, who made the prize shortlist with her debut novel Elmet, will also lead the search for a Doncaster new writer to mentor, who will be announced in January 2021.

Doncaster Creates will also be running a literary campaign called Doncaster: The Books That Made Us.

Beginning in October, residents and authors are invited to reveal the books that challenged them or changed their lives by uploading a video or written anecdotes. Participants get the chance to win a copy of one of the shortlisted books.

Juliet Farrar, executive director at Doncaster Creates, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to be announcing Doncaster as partner town for regional events for this year’s Booker Prize.

“We’re really looking forward to hosting these amazing events this autumn to celebrate literature and to be working with Booker authors.

"Doncaster has a strong tradition in inspirational creative writing and reading initiatives with people from all walks of life. These events will build on the fantastic work of our partners Doncaster Libraries and the National Literacy Trust’s Doncaster Stories campaign, which brings the transformative power of reading and high-quality writing to communities.”

“Our partnership with The Booker Prize presents a real opportunity for Doncaster talent to reveal some of the unsung narratives – once described to me as ‘the grit and the grandeur’.

“Because of the global Covid-19 pandemic our events, that were due to be in person, will now be digital. This presents a unique opportunity to reach more people, for positivity: for people to share and chat with others they wouldn’t have otherwise met – when being able to ‘connect’ is so valuable.

“We’ll be talking to shortlisted authors and sharing their stories with audiences across the globe from our Doncaster base, we’ll be bringing stories to life in The Books That Made Us when local people share their literary gems and we’ll be searching for new writing talent in our town with the chosen winner gaining insight and knowledge from a Booker author as their prize.”

MP Ed Miliband said: “It’s incredibly exciting that The Booker Prize, which is so internationally famous, has chosen Doncaster as its partner this year.

"The team of people involved put together a compelling case and it shows once again that Doncaster can be at the centre of the most exciting, important arts projects.

"I know that, despite the restrictions of coronavirus, Booker, Doncaster Creates and Doncaster Culture and Leisure Trust have worked hard to develop some brilliant projects.

"I’m particularly looking forward to hearing more from Doncaster’s new writers because I know there is such talent in the town."

To find out more about Doncaster Creates, visit www.doncastercreates.org​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

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