East Hunsbury writer wins top prize in international story competition

Sarah VenessSarah Veness
Sarah Veness
An East Hunsbury writer, who se work highlights the experiences of people living with dementia, Alzheimer's disease and memory loss, has won an international writing competition.

Sarah Veness is a newcomer to writing having recently attended a creative writing course at Northampton Jesus Centre.

The 62-year-old won first prize in the The Best Primary Carer Voice Short Story in the National Memory Day Creative Writing, organised by charity Literature Works, the University of Plymouth, Alzheimer’s Society and The Poetry Archive.

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Sarah’s category was judged by Keith Oliver, former head teacher and Ambassador for the Alzheimer’s Society and who has dementia.

Keith said: “I really liked the say the author has tackled the subject, the way she introduced and developed the richness of the characters, the twists in the story.

“I liked the intergenerational aspect. I could clearly picture the scenes and interaction between the characters. I thought it was realistic in its portrayal of dementia without slipping into negative traps which writers often do.”

Sarah says she is motivated by her own life events to encourage and inform people about dementia and memory issues.

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As someone who cares for a friend with Early Onset Alzheimer’s and also lives with memory loss herself, she hopes she can express the viewpoint of carers and those in a similar position to her own.

A member of the Towcester Writers Group, she said: “I feel humbled and amazed to have won this competition. I have been to Memory Cafes as a participant, a carer and a speaker and have found them a wonderful way of supporting people at the grass roots level. I hope I can help build bridges of understanding through my storytelling.”

Sarah is now writing her first book which will be an anthology of short stories and poems based around the theme of memory.