Lancaster University lecturers win literary prizes

WINNER: Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi
WINNER: Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi

Two Lancaster University lecturers are celebrating after winning sought-after literary accolades.

First up is Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi who has become the regional winner for Africa in the Commonwealth 2014 Short Story Prize.

From Uganda, Jennifer has a PhD in Creative Writing from Lancaster University, where she teaches in the Department of English and Creative Writing.

She is one of five regional winners of the prize for ‘Let’s Tell This Story Properly’ which features Nnameya, a grieving widow arriving at Entebbe Airport from Manchester with her husband Kayita’s coffin.

But then events take such a dramatic turn that she must relinquish her widowhood and fight.

Jennifer said: “I was overjoyed when I learnt that I had won the African leg of the Commonwealth prize and would represent Africa for the overall prize, especially this coming so soon after the Kwani Prize win.”

The competition is open to the 53 countries in the Commonwealth, with nearly 4,000 writers from Africa, Asia, Canada, Europe, the Caribbean and the Pacific entering unpublished stories.

The regional winners will now compete for the overall prize – to be announced in Kampala, Uganda, on June 13.

This year’s Chair is Ellah Allfrey, Deputy Chair of the Council of the Caine Prize and previously Deputy Editor of Granta and Senior Editor at Jonathan Cape, Random House.

She called Jennifer’s story “a bold, compact story about betrayal and the pull of tradition. In the end, the stories that impressed us the most were those that took risks – in subject and style.”

Another lecturer in the Department of English and Creative Writing has been awarded first prize in this year’s Open International Hippocrates Prize for poetry.

Jane Draycott was presented with her £5000 prize by the poet Philip Gross at an International Symposium on Poetry and Medicine at the Royal Society of Medicine in London.

The English lecturer’s winning poem, ‘The Return’, concerns the many sanatoriums left standing around the world very much as the day they were abandoned decades ago, remaining as if on stand-by for whenever their time comes again.

The poem has been published in the 2014 Hippocrates Awards Anthology.

Jane was a Poetry Book Society ‘Next Generation’ poet in 2004 and second prize-winner in the National Poetry Competition 2012.