2018 CFWA Winner Yvonne Reddick Wins a Northern Writers’ Award for Memoir

26 June 2023

Huge congratulations to our 2018 Writers’ Award winner Yvonne Reddick who recently won a Northern Writers’ Award for Memoir. Yvonne will be developing her book project Fire on Winter Hill, about her father’s passion for hills and mountains, his work in the petroleum industry, and the climate change impacts she’s witnessed in hills and high places since his time. Bloodaxe recently published Burning Season, a book of Yvonne’s poetry on similar themes and experiences. She has also been longlisted for the 2023 Ginkgo Prize for Ecopoetry.

Yvonne says of her writing journey so far:

‘I won a Platinum award for poetry from Creative Future in 2018, for my poem ‘Firesetter’. My obsession with moorland fires and the conditions that link them to climate change are behind this poem, and I was thrilled that the judges picked it.

Thanks to Creative Future, I was mentored by poet Ahren Warner, who encouraged me to try different poetic forms and to branch out beyond the lyric. I had a very productive and interesting chat with Tom Chivers at Penned in the Margins Press, about poetry and his experience with nonfiction and nature writing.

My debut collection Burning Season was published by Bloodaxe Books in May 2023. The book explores fire and climate, my Dad’s work in the petroleum industry, and his passion for hiking and mountains. It is a summer poetry selection from New Writing North.

I attended Tara Gould’s excellent course on nature writing with Creative Future in early 2023. Her editorial suggestions were brilliant! I really enjoyed making friends with other members of the group. Together, we encouraged each other with our writing and adjusted things that could be improved.

I’ve consistently heard that my Dad’s career was one of the most interesting things I could write about. After Burning Season came out, I knew there was more material to explore. I’m interested in how oil represents opportunities and risks, pollution and power, and why only a handful of writers in the UK are exploring this topic. For me, these issues are starkly visible in the outdoor landscapes where I hike and climb: oil extraction has happened right next to some of my favourite ridges at Winnats Pass, and Winter Hill overlooks a controversial former fracking site.

I was overjoyed to win a Northern Writers’ Award for memoir in June 2023, with material that Tara and the group had helped me to workshop. I’d been publishing short bits and pieces of nature writing since 2013, and while I feel it’s taken me ages to get my material together, it’s finally paid off. I feel fairly confident when I write poetry, and I publish literary criticism, but taking the leap into narrative nonfiction is a huge step.

Thank you for giving me the courage to take it.’

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