Islington writer highly commended in national life writing competition

Laurane Marchive was highly commended in the Spread the Word's Life Writing Prize 2020. Picture: Jel

Laurane Marchive was highly commended in the Spread the Word's Life Writing Prize 2020. Picture: Jelka Quintelier - Credit: Archant

An Islington writer has been recognised in a national competition focussed on stories about experiences and memories.

Laurane Marchive was highly commended in the Spread the Word’s Life Writing Prize 2020.

The award, in its fourth year, was established in association with Goldsmiths Writers’ Centre to find and develop the best new life writing from emerging writers.

There were 900 submissions from across the UK, all vying for the top prize of £1500, an Arvon Foundation course, a writing mentor, two years’ membership of the Royal Society of Literature and a development meeting with an agent and editor.

READ MORE: Islington’s unsung heroes honoured as Ben Kinsella Award and civic gongs are given outREAD MORE: Top award for Islington apprentice who helped build council homes on estatesLaurane’s entry, For the Flesh is Sour, is a piece about her grandmother’s funeral last year, grief, her grandparents’ lives and the Gilets Jaunes riots in Paris.

The entry was judged by writers Kerry Hudson and Nell Stevens, and The Times columnist Sathnam Sanghera.


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The London Magazine, The Mechanics’ Institute Review, Review 31 and The Times Literary Supplement have all featured Laurane’s wider work.

“I was still crying and tearing my hair out an hour before the deadline for this competition, so it’s definitely nice to be highly commended,” said Laurane. “A massive confidence boost.”

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Laurane, a Birkbeck University of London creative writing MA alumna who also runs a circus, has previously won the French Escales des Lettres, been longlisted for the BBC Short Story Prize, and shortlisted for both the Spread the Word Life Writing Prize 2019 and the London Short Story Prize 2020.

She will receive £500 and a writing mentor after being highly commended.

The winning entry, Birdie, was submitted by Lorelei Goulding about a young vulnerable girl.

Ruth Harrison, director of Spread the Word said: “Now, more than ever, there is value in shared stories, reflecting what brings us together and what distinguishes us.”

An anthology of the 12 longlisted writers is available to download in PDF format.

The Life Writing Prize is free to enter and funded by Joanna Munro.

During the coronavirus pandemic, Spread the Word has offered free six-week courses to support writers in difficult times.

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