Marlborough LitFest and English Literature at Bath Spa University are delighted to announce the winners of this year’s national Love Books competition, which invited participants to celebrate their love of reading by explaining their choice of favourite book, poem or play in either words or a video. With over 120 entries in this its second year, winners in each of the three competition age categories have won £300, with runners-up winning £100 each.
One of LitFest’s aims is to celebrate the power of reading to shift perceptions and to open up opportunities. As part of this, LitFest has been working with the English Literature Department at Bath Spa University on an annual competition to encourage people of all ages to share their passion for a book, poem or play they love. They could do this either in a piece of text of up to 750 words or in a video up to four minutes in length. The 2021 competition was open to anyone across the country in three age groups – 13-16 years, 17-19 years and 20 years and above – and LitFest is especially grateful to teachers at local schools for encouraging their classes to take part.
In the 13–16 age group category, the winner is Grace Clift who wrote about The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. The runner-up in this group is Xavier Baldwin, with a rap about William Golding’s The Lord of the Flies.
The winner in the 17-19 age group category is May Liu Cannon (from St John’s Academy, Marlborough), whose entry was Orlando, by Virginia Woolf. The runner-up is Filippo Rossi with The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco and a Highly Commended prize is awarded to Eleanor White (from St John’s Academy, Marlborough) for her entry on Strange the Dreamer, by Laini Taylor.
In the 20+ age group category, Emily Foster has won for her writing on Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson; the runner-up is Sara Clemence who wrote about Labyrinth, a collection of short stories and essaysby Jorge Luis Borges.
Bath Spa English lecturer Dr Nicola Presley and her student volunteers were involved in sifting the entries in 2021. A shortlist was then passed to three judges: Jan Williamson, former chair of Marlborough LitFest; Judy Golding, CEO of William Golding Ltd and writer; and Ian Gadd, Professor in English Literature at Bath Spa University.
Love Books 2022 will launch in the new year; keep an eye on marlboroughlitfest.org for more information on how to submit entries.
Nicola Presley, Senior Lecturer in English Literature at Bath Spa University, said: “It has been a real pleasure to read all the entries for this year’s Love Books Competition. We have been moved, delighted and inspired by the passion shown by the entrants.”
Genevieve Clarke, Chair of the Marlborough LitFest, said: “Once again we were thrilled at the number and quality of entries for this competition and delighted that so many people got involved in Marlborough and beyond. We’re extremely grateful to Nicola and her colleagues and students in the English Department at Bath Spa University for having made this happen for LitFest.”