Amy McCauley Wins Writing Award

Posted on: 13th July 2016 at 00:00
Posted by: PANDA
Discipline: Writing

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We're delighted to share Amy McCauley's news that she recently won a Northern Writers' Award. Find out more below.
Can you introduce yourself?
My name is Amy McCauley and I started to take writing seriously in 2008. Since then I have published poems in a variety of anthologies and magazines including: Best British Poetry 2015 (Salt), Best British and Irish Poets 2016 (Eyewear), The Poetry of Sex (Viking) and Hallelujah for 50ft Women (Bloodaxe). My writing and performances explore the possibility of responding to canonical texts and myths and I often enter into a disruptive dialogue with these mythic narratives. Much of my work begins with voices engaged in a struggle, and I like to write using the page as a performance space. In 2012 I won a scholarship to study for a PhD in Aberystwyth and I have also worked on a
number of collaborative projects, such as libretti, performance work and films. My first book is currently represented by David Higham Associates literary agency, and for the last three years I have worked as an editor for the magazine New Welsh Review.
How did you become a PANDA member?
When I moved back to Manchester in 2015 I joined PANDA’s ‘Creative Breaks’ training programme. The scheme appealed to me because I was considering self-employment but knew I needed to gain some confidence and learn a few practical skills. The training challenged me to reflect on my strengths and weaknesses, become more self-reliant, and gain a deeper awareness of the way I operate both as an artist and a human being. Since completing the programme I have really developed my confidence and been much more pro-active in my approach towards freelance work.
How did you get involved with NWA?
I first became aware of the Northern Writers’ Awards simply through word of mouth, and because a number of writers I admire – Toby Martinez de las Rivas and Jacob Polley – had won awards in the past. But I hadn’t felt ready to enter my work previously, largely because I didn’t feel it was ready. This year felt like the right time to send a portfolio of poems, although I really didn’t expect to receive an award. My writing is quite difficult to ‘put in a box’ and I thought this might count against me, but as it happens New Writing North said they were really excited by the risks I was taking in my work.
Why is writing important to you?
Writing has saved my life on a number of occasions: it is the thing I love doing most of all and it motivates me to get up in the morning. The life of the imagination is precious because it’s the place
where I feel most like myself. It’s also a wonderful way of making a connection with other people – through our shared capacity to imagine other worlds and discover new ways of thinking and living. I have made many great friends through writing, collaborating, teaching and sharing creative experiences, and for me the arts are central to the experience of being alive. The society we exist in
tells us to separate feeling from thinking. But writing is a powerful way of thinking feelingly and feeling thinkingly. For this reason I believe writing has the capacity to effect real change, in the
individual and in wider society. This is something I have observed in others and experienced myself: it is why the arts have the real potential to be revolutionary.
To find out more about Amy and her work you can visit her website or follow her on Twitter: @amymccauley21