The Brian Whittingham Memorial Prize
About the Prize
In 2022 we announced our intention to create a brand new prize for our annual competition, which we were able to do owing to an endowment we gratefully received from the estate of Brian Whittingham, a former Makar of the Federation.
Reflecting Brian's own talent as a poet of great renown and his support of the form, through his work with the Federation, this new annual prize of £50 will run for seven years and will be awarded to one of the winning poets from our Open Poetry, Scots and Gaelic categories.
Once the shortlists are decided, the judges of the three categories will meet to decide which of the poems will be awarded the Brian Whittingham memorial prize. This will be awarded to the winning poet, in addition to the award they will receive as the winner of their category.
Entrants need not do anything in addition to entering the various categories as normal as all poetry entries are eligible for the prize, should they make the shortlist of the aforementioned categories.
About Brian Whittingam - 1950 - 2022
Brian Whittingham was an accomplished poet, writer, playwright and creative writing tutor. He started his working life as a steelworker in Glasgow Shipyards before joining Paisley Writers Group. This later led to his declining another trade job and taking a leap of faith into the world of creative writing. From the moment Brian took that leap, his writing career spiraled.
Like many writers his passion for the written word didn’t bring him much financial reward, but it did allow Brian to hone his skills and go on to share these in encouraging other aspiring writers to do the same, even if they were not brave enough to “give up the day job”.
Brian’s writing successes began with his role as writer-in-residence in Midlothian and District. This led to teaching community classes and schools in Kelvingrove Art Gallery, along with other venues and organisations, including in prisons, addiction centres and theatre. This work also called Brian to travel with a group of school children to Normandy France to facilitate workshops, writing poetry on the sands.
He was awarded a Fellowship at Yaddo, Arts Centre in San Francisco, also the Robert Louis Stevenson Fellowship at Hotel Chevillon, Grez, France . He was invited to Seattle University as a visiting professor of Creative Writing for a semester and loved immersing himself in the culture. His work included lecturing in Creative Writing and Communications, in the Further Education sector at The City of Glasgow College. Brian was Makar of the Federation of Writers (Scotland) and later became the first Tannahill Makar for Renfrewshire.
In addition to his literary talents, Brian was an adventurous photographer, but as a prolific writer, poetry was his main passion in his creative armoury. He had more than ten books of poetry published, as well as a number of plays staged and performed. He even did a few stints at comedy clubs in Glasgow, and took part in a Tricky Hat Production, making theatre with and about people who live on the margins of our society. Amongst his TV and Radio interviews Brian was featured on The Hairy Bikers.
Brian was always thankful for the support that he received for his writing, especially from other writers. In his memory, Brian’s family, son Craig, daughter Debbie and partner Cathie invited friends and family to donate to a JustGiving page to raise funds that would go towards helping other aspiring writers. It is as a result of this fund that the Federation of Writers is able to offer a prize for poetry, in memory of Brian, with thanks to the family.
Requiescat in Pace.