Oldham resident shortlisted for National Art Competition

Date published: 18 November 2020

A 68-year-old writer who lives on the Mossley/Saddleworth border made the shortlist for the King Lear Prizes, a new national arts competition launched in March 2020 to encourage artistic creativity among older people during lockdown.

Bonnie Meekums was shortlisted in the Chairman’s Prize category of the inaugural Prizes. The competition attracted more than 14,000 entries in total in six categories from about 5,000 people across the UK and British citizens overseas. 

The competition was open to people over 70 with no professional experience in the arts, to submit new short stories, poetry, short plays, solo musical compositions and art during the time they were quarantined earlier this year. As a result of the huge initial response, the Chairman’s Prize category was announced for the best entry from anyone over 60 who did not fit into one of the existing amateur prize categories (including professional creatives). The Prizes take their name from Shakespeare’s play King Lear, which was written in 1605-1606 during outbreaks of the plague in London. 

For Bonnie’s shortlisted short story entitled ‘No Particular Place to Go’ she has received a certificate of commendation. Bonnie has had previous experience writing, and has published novels, flash fiction and non-fiction. She is also a therapist, known internationally for her work in Dance Movement Therapy. In her spare time, she enjoys growing vegetables, walking in the hills, reading and dancing. She also writes a blog about her experience as an ageing woman in the UK.

The inaugural competition was supported by famous writers, actors, musicians and artists, such as broadcaster Gyles Brandreth and cellist Julian Lloyd Webber. 

The competition and its mission have also been championed by older people charities, such as Age UK.

When the competition was launched earlier this year, Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director of Age UK, said, “Spending more time at home and apart from our family and friends inevitably means big changes to our normal activities and routines. As a result, looking after our mental and physical health is going to be very important, and taking time to be creative can be really beneficial. Having a project to focus on, like a submission for the King Lear Prizes, is fantastic and will hopefully bring a sense of achievement and much joy to everyone who takes part, and I look forward to seeing what is produced during these challenging times.”

‘No Particular Place to Go’ by Bonnie Meekums, as well as the other winning and shortlisted entries, are available to view at the King Lear Prizes website www.kinglearprizes.org.uk. 

For more information, or if you would like to get in touch with Bonnie Meekums, please contact Reem Ahmed on behalf of the King Lear Prizes on reem@kinglearprizes.org

Do you have a story for us? Want to tell us about something going on in and around Oldham? Let us know by emailing news@oldham-chronicle.co.uk , calling our Oldham-based newsroom on 0161 633 2121 , tweeting us @oldhamchronicle or messaging us through our Facebook page. All contact will be treated in confidence.