6 - 20 October 2017

Chapter & Verse BlogChapter & Verse Blog

The Manchester Literature Festival Blog

Review: The Blog North Awards at Gorilla

Chris Killen reads from his short story A Short Guide to the Future at the 2013 Blog North AwardsKatie Moffatt

  • Chris Killen reads from his short story A Short Guide to the Future at the 2013 Blog North Awards

It was pretty packed by the time I arrive at the 2013 Blog North Awards. This year, the celebrations have moved from The Deaf Institute to sister venue Gorilla underneath the railway tracks of Oxford Road. Everybody was wrapped up – it’s cold up North – and as I looked around, I played ‘spot the blogger’, wondering who was on the shortlist and who was there for celebratory support. From a glance at Twitter, everybody was eagerly awaiting the evening of words, performance and awards, Blog North being cause to celebrate the North of England’s independent online writing.

There was a family behind me already rooting for one member of the pack and it was no surprise why when Lucie Brownlee was later awarded Best Personal Blog: Wife After Death is an incredibly intimate, moving account of widowhood and I doubt I was the only one wiping my eye with my sleeve during her short thank you and dedication.

Throughout the evening, a selection of shortlisted bloggers were welcomed to the stage by the ever bright Kate Feld. Amy Roberts, obsessed with the grotesque of every day living, warmed the stage with Liverpudlian rhythm, recounting an evening of strangers across the tables in a Chinese restaurant. Thom Robinson, of the blog Thom Writes About Love Songs quite openly addressed love as a hopeless quest – giggles engulfed the room. Len Grant, a storyteller using words and pictures, confidently read excerpts from Life Without Papers, his raw, first person account of the tales of undocumented (until now) migrant families and young people.

Food Legend blogger David Bailey presented a comical history of Jamie Oliver – where did he come across all those photographs of the chef?! The duo Les Malheureux set stories to sound, and with David on keyboard and Sarah-Clare on mic painting visuals of smiley face potatoes stuck to walls with tape, they had their audience bizarrely hypnotised. Not to forget author Chris Killen who rustled on to stage and sparkled in his tin foil suit, introducing us all to the future.

Then it was time for the big announcement. The Writing Squad, The Culture Vulture and Creative Tourist were amongst the Northern organisations also welcomed on stage to present awards; a list of shortlisted, runner up and winning blogs can be found at blognorthawards.com. They weren’t kidding when they told us to expect an evening of writing as diverse and original as the North itself.

About the writer: Rachel Barker is a free writer and photographer. She says: ‘Often, it happens quickly; you have to catch it before the imagery has gone. Musings can be found online at tiffers89.tumblr.com, and visuals at www.raychelark.com.