Laurie Lee Award Winners Announced



Photo of JLM Morton by Tamara Llynn Kwan

The Stroud Book Festival is delighted to announce the winners of the inaugural Laurie Lee Prize for Writing.


Archie Woolls for “Scarecrow” and “Snowman” (poetry)


JLM Morton for “Source Material” (non-fiction)

The two winners were revealed during a special pitch event at the Stroud Book Festival 2022. Biographies of the winning writers follow.

Jury Chair and Founder of the Laurie Lee Prize, Katie Fforde, said:

As the initiator of the award, I was afraid that we wouldn’t have enough nominations, but we had a lot and the standard was high. It’s been hard to pick winners from so much great work, but I’m extremely happy with the winners we’ve chosen.

Open to unpublished Gloucestershire writers in a range of genres, the Laurie Lee Prize for Writing was established this year to recognize and honor the work of Stroud’s most famous son, Laurie Lee (1914-1997). The prize was the brainchild of Stroud’s best-selling writer, Katie Fforde, and was created under the auspices of the Stroud Book Festival with the blessing of Laurie Lee’s family and her literary estate.

Submissions must be on a nature or conservation theme. The prize is open to writers currently residing in Gloucestershire and those born in the county, and each winner receives £1,000 in prize money.

The 2022 judges were Katie Fforde (Chair), Jessy Lee (Laurie Lee’s daughter), Norah Perkins (Laurie Lee’s literary agent) and Gloucestershire writers Jamila Gavin, Adam Horovitz and Jane Bailey.

About the winning authors

Archie Woolls grew up in Bussage and now lives in Stroud. Authors of short stories, poetry and screenplay, they were selected as one of the winners of the latest Stroud Short Stories competition and have been shortlisted for the Creative Future Writers Award 2022 and Channel 4’s New Writers Scheme. Their work is expected to be published in the upcoming Black Cat Poetry Press anthology, as well as the upcoming Stroud Short Stories collection.

JLM Morton grew up in Gloucestershire and now lives in Stroud. She is an emerging poet with work in over 30 journals in the US and UK including The Rialto, Poetry Birmingham Literary Journal, Fenland Poetry Journal, Raceme. She collaborates with other artists on sound installations and exhibitions – her recent works include “if trees were lonely women, what would they look like?” in the Forest of Galloway, Scotland and “What’s Left When The River is Gone” at Robinson College, Cambridge. She is currently writing her first collection of poetry and a non-fiction book.

About Laurie Lee

Laurie Lee was born in Stroud, Gloucestershire, in 1914, and was educated at Slad Village School and Stroud Central School. At the age of 19, he walked to London and then traveled on foot through Spain, as described in his book As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning. In 1950 he married Katherine Polge and they had a daughter, Jessy.

His bestselling Cider with Rosie (1959) sold over six million copies worldwide and was followed by two more autobiographical volumes: As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning (1969) and A Moment of War (1991). Laurie Lee also published four books of poetry, The Sun My Monument (1944), The Bloom of Candles: Verse from a Poet’s Year (1947), My Many-coated Man (1955) and Pocket Poems (1960), as well as A Rose for Winter (1955), The Firstborn (1964), I Can’t Stay Long (1975) and Two Women (1983). Village Christmas, an anthology of uncollected essays, was published posthumously. Laurie Lee died in May 1997 and is buried in the village cemetery in Slad.

About the Stroud Book Festival

The Stroud Book Festival is Stroud’s annual celebration of stories, ideas and community for readers of all ages.

The seventh annual festival runs November 2-6, 2022 at venues across Stroud including the Sub-Rooms, Lansdown Hall, Stroud Library and Park Museum.

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