Endmoor music teacher wins three literary prizes

The Westmorland Gazette: Annie receiving her latest prize from judges Fay Weldon and Simon Brett Annie receiving her latest prize from judges Fay Weldon and Simon Brett

A MUSIC teacher from Endmoor has found success in her new career as a writer – scooping three literary prizes in 12 months.

Annie Whitehead started putting pen to paper five years ago when her eldest child started secondary school.

The 50-year-old had only recently completed her first novel, To Be a Queen, when she discovered she had been awarded a runners up prize in the 2012 Mail on Sunday Writing Competition.

“I saw the competition advertised in the paper,” explained Annie, “but it was very close to the deadline and I didn’t have any expectations because it was the first writing competition I’d ever entered.”

Annie picked up her prize at a glittering literary event attended by competition judges Fay Weldon, James Buchan and Sarah Waters, which she described as ‘absolutely terrifying’.

Her triumph came six weeks before the deadline for the following year’s competition, where she once again scooped a runners-up prize with the first pages of her second novel.

The judges praised the ‘eerie beginning’, with author Fay Weldon saying: “All bodes no good except it’s a mystery we want to solve.”

Inspired by the judge’s positive comments, Annie is now working on the final draft of the book, a novel set in the Lake District – her home since 1986.

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“It’s something I started a while ago and left on the backburner,” said Annie.

“But this has given me the confidence to finish it.

“It was an idea that came to me when I first came up to the Lake District and was blown away by the scenery.

“It’s such a fantastic place and I felt like I could just pick up the characters and put them here.”

Her third accolade was picking up first prize in the prestigious New Writer Annual Prose and Poetry competition.

Her article, Twitter is not Birdsong, was described by the judges as: “A dazzling essay on the human value of handwritten letters and letter-writing, and a thoughtful vision of a future without them.”

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