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Cornish publishing 'Booker' awards celebrate quality in writing and design

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: July 31, 2012

  • Jane Darke was awarded the Literary Salver for her account of the loss of her playwright husband Nick, which Holyer An Gof judges described as a 'book of great literary value'

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A councillor, a film-maker, a clergyman and a Western Morning News journalist were among the winners at Cornwall's annual publishing awards.

Dubbed the Cornish "Bookers", the sixteenth Holyer An Gof contest saw the largest entry to date, with some 89 titles across several classes.

Held at Waterstones book shop in Truro, the award ceremony was attended by more than 100 authors and publishers representing genres ranging from children's books to the Cornish language, poetry to fiction, engineering to art history.

Dedicated to the memory of Cornish publisher, campaigner and Bard of the Gorsedd, Leonard Truran, the purpose of the awards is to celebrate high quality publishing and writing of Cornwall. The name of the award is take from Mr Truran's Bardic name, Holyer An Gof (Follower of The Smith).

Introducing the event, Waterstones manager Andrew Forster said: "The publishing world is going through a period of great change, so it is reassuring and comforting to see that Holyer An Gof continues to get better and better, demonstrating just how much people care about quality books. We are proud to support it and to help present Cornish writing and publishing to a wider audience."

More than 40 experienced readers, with a range of expertise, acted as judges, with every book assessed by several panel members. Books for children enjoyed the added scrutiny of being considered by Year 5 pupils at Roskear School in Camborne.

Grand Bard Mick Paynter, who presented the winners with their certificates, said: "These prizes are very important to us. Gorsedd Kernow is very proud of the way they have grown and become one of the many celebrations of our little country."

Trurra! by Cornwall Councillor Bert Biscoe won the prize for poetry, the volume being described as a "marvellous evocation of the city, with poems that are very deep and very sinuous".

Porthleven photographer David Penprase won the award for Non-fiction (in which illustrations predominate) for Harbour To Harbour, a collection of portraits described by judge John McWilliams as "warm and affectionate, beautifully photographed, beautifully produced, and a valuable piece of social history".

Retired clergyman Barry Kinsman took the honours in the History, Language and Creative Arts section for his brilliantly researched Good Fellowship Of Padstow. And WMN journalist Simon Parker was awarded the Adult Fiction prize for Solid, which relates the story of Lanner man Edward Jose and his life as a matador in the bullrings of Spain.

A number of special awards are made each year for publishers and writers who have made a great contribution to the world of Cornish books. This year's Literary Salver, presented by the Cornish Literary Guild, was awarded to Jane Darke for Held By The Sea, published by Souvenir Press. The widow of acclaimed playwright and lobster fisherman Nick Darke, her book is a celebration of love, telling of the aftermath of his death and the experience of grief.

Presenting the award, Cornish Literary Guild chairman Donald Rawe said: "This is a book of great literary value. The emotions are sometimes unbearable to read and quite indescribable. Nick was a wonderful man. He wrote plays that electrified audiences. He was a great man who should not be forgotten, a passionate fisherman and a wonderful wrecker. Meeting Jane was the great event of his life and her book is a remarkable achievement. I have never read anything quite so personal or quite so revealing about a marriage."

Holyer An Gof Awards 2012

Holyer An Gof Cup: Falmouth Frameworks by Brian Stewart, Paul Mitchell, Lynn Roberts (Falmouth Art Gallery and Sansom). Cornish Literary Salver: Held By The Sea by Jane Darke (Souvenir Press). Special Award: An Beybel Sans (The Holy bible In Cornish) translated by Nicholas Williams (Evertype). Special Award: Poetry Cornwall edited by Les Merton (Palores). Special Award: Charles Thurlow (Cornish Hillside Publications). Waterstones Award: Trurra! by Bert Biscoe (Dew Vardh) and Howl On The Wind by Charmian Hussey (Atlantic Press). Cornish Language Books: Karol Nadelik translated by Steve Harris (Kowethas An Yeth Kernewek). Books for Children: The Bears Of Porthors Go Tin Mining by Dale Reardon (Bears On Location Books). Books For Young Adults: Adventure Island: The Mystery Of The Whistling Caves by Helen Moss (Orion). Adult Fiction: Solid by Simon Parker (Scryfa). Poetry: Trurra! by Bert Biscoe (Dew Vardh). Non-Fiction (History, Language and Creative Arts): Good Fellowship Of Padstow by Barry Kinsman (FOCS). Non-Fiction (In Which Illustrations predominate): Harbour To Harbour by David and Jan Penprase (Penprase). Non-Fiction (Marine, Industrial Heritage and Environment): Funding The Ladder – The Passmore Edwards Legacy by Dean Evans (Francis Boutle). Pamphlets: Carols Of The Stratton Hundred by Bude Stratton OCS (FOCS).

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