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Culture Awards Writer of the Year finalists: Alison Carr, David Almond and Peter Mortimer

The writing talents of the finalists were on show respectively in The Soaking of Vera Shrimp, The GNR Million Opening Ceremony and Death at Dawn

This award will recognise an author, playwright, screenwriter or poet who has had some outstanding work published or performed during 2014.

ALISON CARR

First performed at Live Theatre and The Empty Space’s joint Scratch Night, the full production of Alison Carr’s The Soaking of Vera Shrimp was the result of a bursary given to the prolific writer to develop her story about a teenager who realises she has a remarkable gift. She can read raindrops.

All images copyright Ian Forsyth 2013 Alison Carr, Writer
Alison Carr, Writer

The stories the raindrops contain form part of Vera’s narrative as she gives a talk on the water cycle.

Yet behind the quaint nature of this theatrical device Vera Shrimp’s life is disintegrating as her family breaks apart.

The Soaking of Vera Shrimp by Alison Carr
Tessa Parr starred in The Soaking of Vera Shrimp by Alison Carr

A heartfelt one woman show about grief, love and never giving up was performed in October at Live Theatre by Tessa Parr as Vera searches for the raindrop that holds what she is desperate to find.

The Soaking of Vera Shrimp will be getting a run at The Pleasance during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in August 2015.

Website: alisoncarr.co.uk

Twitter: @AlisonCarr_

DAVID ALMOND

A sell-out crowd on the banks of Newcastle and Gateshead marvelled at the spectacular telling of the epic tale of the North East during the Great North Run Million Opening Ceremony.

Author David Almond visits the Newcastle Bridges School in the Great North Childrens Hospital at the RVI
Author David Almond visits the Newcastle Bridges School in the Great North Childrens Hospital at the RVI

Devised by Bradley Hemmings and written by acclaimed and multi-award-winning children’s author David Almond (Skellig, Heaven Eyes, Kit’s Wilderness) it was a tale of creativity, grit and ingenuity.

From the dawn of time through to the millionth finish of the Bupa Great North Run, this was a story drenched in energy, endeavour and inspiration. Narrated by Jill Halfpenny and Tim Healy, the performance featured live music from Sting, Mark Knopfler, The Unthanks and Chase and Status.

David began his career locally with a collection of short stories for adults which was published by Iron Press. His career has gone on to scale international heights, but the Felling-born writer has never left the region he loves.

Currently writing an Opera For Sunderland, we’re thrilled to have David performing an exclusive extract during the Culture Awards 2014 ceremony at Sunderland Minster on June 30.

Website: www.davidalmond.com

Twitter: @davidjalmond

PETER MORTIMER

North Tyneside-based Peter Mortimer’s career spans several decades as a writer of plays and short fiction; but also as the editor of Iron Press, an independent publisher he set up in the 1970s.

In 2013, Iron Press celebrated its 40th anniversary with IRON Age Festival, which went on to win a Culture Award.

Playwright, Peter Mortimer opens the Whitley Bay Film Festival at the Grand Hotel in Tynemouth.
Playwright, Peter Mortimer opens the Whitley Bay Film Festival at the Grand Hotel in Tynemouth.

In 2014 Mortimer’s play Death at Dawn was performed at the Linskill Centre in North Shields.

It was an emotionally-charged and meticulously researched play entrenched in the history of the North-East; exploring the experience of World War One through the eyes of William Hunter, a North Shields lad who was one of 300 British soldiers executed during the First World War for military offences, including desertion or cowardice.

Death at Dawn is also nominated for Performance of the Year.

Website: www.petermortimer.co.uk

Twitter: @Cloud9theatre

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