Local author wins prize in national environmental essay competition

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Glen Lonan author Leonie Charlton has been celebrating after picking up second prize in a prestigious essay and poetry competition.
The author attended the prize-giving event at Kendal Mountain Festival late last month for Lancaster University’s Future Places Environmental Essay and Poetry Competition.

In her opening speech, Dr Karen Lloyd, from the university’s department of English and Creative Writing, said the winning essays and poems consider anew the ways in which humans both help and harm their local environments, and find new forms of language that enable us to tell stories about the ways we live now, and about the reckoning that must occur between how we once lived, and how we will inhabit our future places.

Lucy Gray’s sculpture ‘Recovering Ground. Photograph: Alex Ramsay.

Dr Lloyd went on to say that they had been overwhelmed not only by the quality of essays and poems submitted, but also by the breadth of subject matter and the experimental nature of form: from the rescue of amorous toads from certain death on a country lane: an urban woodland ‘loved to death’ by locked-down ramblers: a meadow pipit’s nest clutched in the talons of a golden eagle: drops of water refracting and bending the landscape in a thousand rich and subtle ways: a love affair with a neighbours’ birch tree: from Darwin’s garden worms to the eel, ‘legless with a foot in two worlds’: the oddness of song, voice and memory contained within ice: a Welsh quarry as the post-Capitalist landscape: a poet who needs to find new language.
In her judge’s comments Professor Jenn Ashworth described Leonie’s essay as ‘a direct and urgent exploration of responsibility, care and connection.’ Woven through the essay is the narrative poem Leonie wrote for the collaborative exhibition with local sculptor Lucy Gray, ‘Recovering Ground’, currently showing at the Resipole Studios on Ardnamurchan.

The prizewinning essays and poems will shortly be available to read online at www.lancaster.ac.uk/future-places/activities/the-future-places-environmental-essay-and-poetry-prize, and Leonie’s essay will also be on her website www.leoniecharlton.co.uk

Leonie is showing slides and giving a talk on her book, Marram, signing books and reading from her poetry pamphlet at A Scone and a Scribe, at The Rockfield Centre on Saturday December 11, at 10am.