This year's literature award was the most extraordinary competition we’ve run in 15 years, with the largest postbag on record.
With so many entrants and such a huge range of work, across poetry and fiction and a wide range of themes, writing styles and genres, we ended up with an enormous initial longlist. Narrowing that down was quite a task — when we did manage to arrive at a final list, we discovered once we matched up the numbers to names for the purpose of writing our report, have already invested heavily in their writing, with mentoring or previous publications. We don’t think this is co-incidence — the writers whose work is convincing are those who give their craft time and power, whether they are established writers or debut authors.
Still, even with a shortlist, the decisions weren't easy and we read and re-read each submission over and over until, at last, we managed to come to a list of finalists:
- John Agard;
- A C Clarke;
- Dominic Fisher;
- Jacqueline Haskell (for her entry Caldera);
- Lynn Valentine; and
- Sarah Watkinson
It was a privilege to read all of the manuscripts on the shortlist and doubly so with these final six. These writers deserve to be celebrated.
But, we had to come down to one winner. Not anything like an easy decision but, finally, and after much deliberation and debate, the winner of the 2020 Cinnamon Literature prize is Lynn Valentine and full length debut collection, Life's Stink and Honey.
The full adjudication includes the longlist entries and a all those writers whose work we felt deserved a special mention, as well as the short-listed entries.
Thank you to everyone who entered and hearty congratulations to Lynn.