It is an honour and a privilege to judge the Di Yerbury Residency applications. The Residency is a prestigious award and a rare opportunity for writers to concentrate solely on their writing and research. The high standard of applications from our SWW Members made the judging process quite a challenge. We have, however, selected Ann Beaumont as the recipient of the Society of Women Writers Di Yerbury Residency 2021. Congratulations to Ann and a warm thank you to all who submitted applications.
Ann Beaumont ‘Flesh Peddlers‘
Ann’s application is thorough and clear. She has a viable and fascinating work in progress and a clearly defined Research and Writing Plan. Ann has done preliminary research, walking the paths of her characters in East Sussex. Her character Harriet is fiery and an agent for change. The project is topical for today for it is important to know more about the Peterloo Massacre of 1819, and Women in White who were the forerunners of female emancipation. As in The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka (Stella Prize 2014), reframing this history is most appropriate as women struggle towards equality in so many areas today.
Ann’s resume is very impressive. Her credentials as a researcher, historian and author are compelling. As a published author with at least six books to her name and several commissioned family histories successfully completed, her track record of publishing is assured. There is the possibility of a trilogy. The sample chapters from her previous book are well-written, well-researched and engaging for readers.
In our opinion, Ann would make excellent use of the Di Yerbury Residency, which would give her tangible support to write Flesh Peddlers, a powerful story for today.
Other applicants submitted well-expressed, worthy and persuasive proposals, including an example of the new interest in the reconstruction of lives and achievements of women who have been overshadowed. The search for the woman behind the hero is important and relevant today. Applicants had all carried out some preliminary research in England.
Each applicant has an impressive professional writing career, and submitted fine samples of writing which demonstrated lyrical and poetic talent. Applicants have been short-listed in prestigious competitions and coveted awards. Each is a worthy candidate for the Di Yerbury Residency.
However, some applications were not as clear and advanced as the proposal from the winner. So it was our decision that Ann Beaumont would gain the most benefit from the Di Yerbury Residency 2021.
Colleen Keating and Sharon Rundle, Judges
14 December, 2020