“I’m really looking forward to reading the submissions because I’m so interested to find out about these writers’ responses to, and visions of, their region. Geographical identity and relationship to place currently seem more important than they have done at any time in the last 50 years, and we need non-metropolitan people considering those phenomena with the sort of empathy, insight and balance that good writing can provide. To be able to play a part in helping writers to meet the challenges involved is a very exciting prospect.”
Richard Benson is an award-winning author and journalist specialising in social history and popular culture. After beginning his career as a local newspaper reporter in Yorkshire, he moved to London and worked for The Face magazine in the early 1990s, becoming editor in 1995. His first book, The Farm, a memoir about the sale of his family’s farm in East Yorkshire, was published in 2005, and was a number one bestseller, a Richard & Judy Book Club choice, and shortlisted for the Guardian First Book award. His second, The Valley, a history of four generations of a Yorkshire mining family, won the Portico Prize and James Tait Black Prize for Biography. In 2015 he was commissioned by New Writing North to produce a short history of a former mining family in Co Durham for presentation at the Durham Literary festival. He is currently a contributing editor with Esquire magazine, and is working on a new book about the modern English countryside.