Two Calder Valley writers make shortlist of Portico Prize for Literature

Under the Rock:The Poetry of a PlacebyBenjamin Myers andBlack Teeth and a Brilliant Smileby Adelle Stripe have both made the list.
Under the Rock:The Poetry of a PlacebyBenjamin Myers andBlack Teeth and a Brilliant Smileby Adelle Stripe have both made the list.

The shortlist for The Portico Prize for Literature has been announced today (Monday) and two Calder Valley writers are up for the award.

The prize is the UK’s only award for outstanding literature that best evokes the spirit of the North.

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There are six books in the running for the £10,000 prize, once described as ‘the Booker of the North’, and span both fiction and non-fiction.

Under the Rock: The Poetry of a Place by Benjamin Myers and Black Teeth and a Brilliant Smile by Adelle Stripe have both made the list.

Benjamin is an author, journalist and poet who lives in the Upper Calder Valley.

Under the Rock: The Poetry of a Place is an investigation into nature, literature, history, memory and the meaning of place in modern Britain.

Judges said: “What starts as a piece of nature writing and an investigation into Scout Rock in Yorkshire – its history, its secrets, its nature and its myths – soon becomes a memoir of love for the landscapes of the North, its factories and folklore, ravens and ruins, slugs and swimming. Myers celebrates it all.”

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Adele also lives in the Calder Valley and is originally from Tadcaster.

Black Teeth and a Brilliant Smile is a novel inspired by the life of Bradford playwright, Andrea Dunbar, best known for the 1980s hit Rita, Sue and Bob Too.

The novel features a cast of real and imagined characters set against the backdrop of the infamous Buttershaw estate during the Thatcher era.

Judges said: “A fantastic, heartfelt fictionalisation of a hugely influential woman. Andrea Dunbar has been all too often forgotten, but here she is brought fully to life with the estates and people around her whom she observed and by whom she was inspired.”

Simon Savidge, Chair of Judges, said: “This list defies the rumour that it’s grim up North. Yes, it can be gritty up North; yes, it can be gothic up North; but more than anything it’s glorious and great up North. These books celebrate the spirit of the people, the spirit of place and the wonderful diversity of the North.”

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