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Life Writing Prize 2021

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An event celebrating the Life Writing Prize 2021, and looking at the growth of, and current landscape of life writing in the UK.

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An evening to celebrate the growth of life writing.

Spread the Word in partnership with the Goldsmiths Writers’ Centre will be announcing the winner of the Life Writing Prize 2021, plus looking back at five years of the Prize.

The event will include a keynote from Life Writing Prize Patron Blake Morrison, plus readings from the winner and two highly commended writers from the 2021 Prize. Judges Catherine Cho and Damian Barr will give brief talks and announce the results, and previously highly commended writer Xanthi Barker will read from her new memoir.

Speaker biographies:

Blake Morrison is a writer and journalist. His non-fiction books include And When Did You Last See Your Father? (1993), which won the J. R. Ackerley Prize and the Esquire/Volvo/Waterstone's Non-Fiction Book Award, As If (1997), about the murder of the toddler James Bulger in Liverpool in 1993, and a memoir of his mother, Things My Mother Never Told Me (2002). His poetry includes the collections Dark Glasses (1984), winner of a Somerset Maugham Award. Since 2003, Blake has been Professor of Creative and Life Writing at Goldsmiths College. Blake is patron of the Life Writing Prize.

Xanthi Barker was born in London where she lives, and works in education. Her stories have been published in magazines including Litro and Mslexia, have been performed at Liar’s League, and have been shortlisted for the Fish Prize. She won the 2017 The Short Story Prize and her piece ‘Paradoxical’ was highly commended in the 2018 Spread the Word Life Writing Prize. Her novelette One Thing was published by Open Pen.

Catherine Cho is a literary agent and author of Inferno: A Memoir. Originally from the US, she lives in London with her family.  

Damian Barr is an award-winning writer & broadcaster. His memoir Maggie & Me was a BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week and Sunday Times Memoir of the Year and won him Stonewall Writer of the Year. His debut novel, You Will Be Safe Here, was BBC Radio 4 Book at Bedtime and Book of the Year in the Observer, Irish Times and on NPR. Damian has hosted a variety of events, including The Man Booker Prize, IPG Awards, the PEN Quiz and presented the live coverage of Cheltenham Literature Festival on Sky Arts. He has written columns for the Big Issue, High Life, The Guardian and hosts his celebrated Literary Salon at The Savoy and most recently online, and is presenter of The Big Scottish Book Club on BBC TV. 

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