LUKE’S BIRTHDAY 13.05.13. AND REMEMBERING HIM WITH AVIDITY
Monday Luke’s birthday seems particularly special as the date contains the number thirteen twice. The only time this will happen in our life time. Luke was drawn to numbers and letters that seemed to have a special meaning. He had an awareness of a deeper meaning than the obvious. He was creative. He would have noticed two thirteen’s, and made his own interpretation.
Remembering Luke’s enthusiasm and the many simple acts of kindness he showed others it would be brilliant if on Monday we could achieve more sales of
THE BODY IS A TEMPLE
AMAZON are offering it at £5.27.
Please order yourself a copy and be transported to beautiful Thailand where a story is told with suspense and tension plus a charming love story entwined through it. A story of hope to live life in a better way.
This year we will present the sixth Luke Bitmead Writer’s Bursary and all the royalties will help fund this. The more books that are sold the more opportunity for Luke’s Bursary to thrive.
We are thrilled to be announcing the 6th Luke Bitmead Writer's Bursary Competition.
Press Release: 1st May 2013
Submissions now open for the 6th Luke Bitmead Writer's Bursary
We are excited to announce the opening of entries for the 2013 Luke Bitmead Writer's Bursary. The award was set up shortly after Luke's death in 2006 by his family to support and encourage the work of fledgling novel writers. The Bursary is now the UK's biggest award for unpublished authors. The top prize is a publishing contract with Legend Press, as well as a cash bursary.
Luke is the author of the brilliant White Summer (the first novel to be published by Legend Press), The Body is a Temple and co-author of Heading South. Information about Luke can be found at www.lukebitmead.com.
We are pleased to be continuing this brilliant bursary for a sixth year, and hope to follow in the success of our previous winners Andrew Blackman (On the Holloway Road), Ruth Dugdall (The Woman Before Me), Sophie Duffy (The Generation Game), J.R. Crook (Sleeping Patterns) and last year's winner Joanne Graham (Lacey's House published 1st May 2013).
Submissions from writers will be accepted from today 1st May until Friday 2nd August 2013
Only adult fiction is eligible for this bursary, no children's books or non-fiction. The judging panel will consist of Luke Mother Elaine, Legend Press, Sam Mills and Ruth Dugdall.
Novels must be already completed before entry. Unfinished manuscripts will not be accepted. Your entry should be sent by email and should include the following:
- A completed entry form (downloadable from www.legendpress.co.uk)
- The first 3-4 chapters of your novel
Submissions should be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Entrants must be aged 16 or over. There is no upper age restriction for entry but all submissions must be from first-time, non-published authors - particularly those who are talented but whose personal or financial circumstances are making it especially hard for them to focus on writing as a career.
The 2012 bursary was inundated with entries and we look forward to reading your work and discovering more talented authors to join our fantastic alumni!
For all enquiries please email email@example.com
For all media enquiries please contact Lucy Boguslawski on 0207 488 5137 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
As Luke's Bursary grows it is remarkable how we receive gentleness from people in a way that is truly humbling. Their gentleness has given us strength. I found these words in a shop in Cambridge and thought they had so much meaning.
'Gentleness is easily seen as a soft touch, a soothing look, comforting words. But in reality, gentleness is the manifestation of our inner strength and wisdom on the basis of love and understanding for the feelings of others.'
Luke cared about others and we care about him and it is tremendous to know his energy lives on in his Bursary. We will soon be announcing the opening for entries this year.
PASSION AT EASTER
The word passion has its root in the Latin word for to suffer, to endure. This connects to the word 'patience.' Patient is what you need to be when you make the commitments of real love. The Passion play was about the Easter story and the deep meaning of the Easter story is that love and suffering are invincible.
When you love another human being you begin to make sacrifices on many levels. Maybe above all, you sacrifice freedom. If you don't want pain then perhaps that is why you cannot allow yourself to love. And if you can't love what is left?
This Easter we thank all of you who continue to show your love for Luke by your pledges and donations that have already been sent to us for this year's Bursary.
The deep well of inner hopelessness that we felt when Luke died has become more manageable. Your enthusiasm and supportive messages help us to feel energised. Thank you for cocooning us with your shared emotional strength.
We wish you all a happy time at Easter and will look forward to seeing some you at the launch of our fifth Bursary winner's book Lacey's House by Joanne Graham in May.
To experience the external presence of someone you love and who loves you evokes feelings of warmth and safety. When that person dies you are left with internalised memories but no physical presence and therefore have to draw on these treasured memories for comfort. It is truly wonderful how many people who knew and loved Luke have shown boundless empathy enabling us to continue to allow Luke's presence to remain symbolically in our lives. His writing family of Bursary winners grows.
'All science has a mind dimension, or a meaning dimension. Science itself is a mental and meaning-based activity. Meaning (mind) can never be reduced to mechanics, or vice versa. The meaning of loss can only be measured on a mind dimension by empathy in a relationship and this requires attunement, or subjective resonance, between one mind and another.'
Martin Seager - Bad science and good mental health an article in Therapy Today.
Science alone does not provide all the answers, argues Martin Seager. We also need to acknowledge the contribution of the mind.
Connecting with this we are delighted to announce that
ANDREW BLACKMAN our first bursary winner is launching his latest book A VIRTUAL LOVE on 27THMarch 2013 in London the Legend Press website gives more details. The book deals with the changing nature of identity in the age of social media. What is your true self? A question that maybe we should all ask ourselves.
Since the tragedy of Luke's untimely death in 2006 those of you who have supported us and followed this website will know we fought for five years to prove failure of care by the NHS. It was an emotionally draining time and has had an impact within our family that we are still trying to repair.
I remember being told by people in the medical profession that we would never be successful in what we were determined to do, bring the NHS to account for their failure of care. Our brilliant legal team secured for us what we felt had to be done, so that future lives would be saved, an admission of guilt.
It is a journey other people have also travelled and I believe there is a growing feeling of determination that we must be brave enough to complain if we believe things have not been managed in the best interest of the patients.
There are a growing number of articles in newspapers confirming that we have magnificent people in our country who have moral principles that uphold the belief that truth will win in the end. There is no point in meeting government targets if people are being allowed to die in the process.
People in the NHS who complain about low standards of care say "It's like Stalin's Russia - speak out and you're crushed." These are the words of Gary Walker, head of the NHS trust responsible for Lincoln County Hospital. He has been dismissed for speaking out about the abysmal care he saw and has suffered emotionally, mentally and financially for doing the honourable thing, exposing what the NHS were trying to cover up, as they did with Luke's case.
In The Daily Telegraph Max Pemberton wrote an article entitled "LET'S TALK SUICIDE BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE". In it he expresses exactly what we feel about Luke's death. He said "For me the tragedy of suicide is that too often it is the ignorance and fear on the part of the doctors that prevents warning signs being picked up. It's not because they don't want to help, but because they lack the training and skill in how to tackle these difficult questions.
It seems if the NHS stopped spending vast sums of money defending their mistakes with teams of expensive lawyers some of this money could be used for training that is desperately needed.
AMAZON IS OFFERING THE BODY IS A TEMPLE AT A GREATLY REDUCED PRICE - £3.36
Please buy copies now to give as presents for friend's birthdays, thank you gifts or any other reason you can think of. The royalties will help fund this year's bursary competition.
Ruth Dugdall, our second bursary winner, had this to say:
''With a deceptively light touch Luke Bitmead takes us into a world of gigolos and drug pushers, where love is at a price and pain is never far away. Sensitive and compelling, Bitmead's swansong novel is a triumph."
Last year's winner Joanne Graham has moved a step closer to her book being published.
We are thrilled to be able to display the captivating cover for our fifth Luke Bitmead Bursary Winner's book.
Legend Press will be publishing Lacey's House on 1 May 2013
ANOTHER YEAR TO MAKE MEANINGFUL BY TALKING MORE TO EACH OTHER.
We are a bit late with New Year greetings but they are sincerely sent to all our wonderful supporters and those of you who are interested in entering Luke's Bursary Competition Over the Christmas period some inspiring messages were sent about how Luke's Bursary is really encouraging new talent. Looking at the Legend Press website it is empowering to see the number of books that are there because of Luke's great idea. We are full of enthusiasm to make 2013 an exceptional year.
If you would like to send us a donation here are the details as to how you can do this:
The Luke Bitmead Memorial Fund, C/o The Hanson Partnership LLP, Suite A Unit 16 Cirencester Office Park, Tetbury Road, Cirencester, Glos GL7 6JJ
Or pay by BACS/Internet transfer to:
The Luke Bitmead Memorial Fund Account number 71543547 Sort code 40-05-26
If you pay tax please ask for a Gift Aid Form so we can claim from HMRC 25 pence for every £1 you donateIn the true spirit of Christmas we did receive cheques in cards and that certainly felt so generous knowing Luke was being particularly remembered at a time of year when families gather and he is very much missed.
Now we are at the beginning of another year and beginnings are potent transition points that spur creativity. Some people seem to want to get in the way of creativity by blocking the path with negative criticism. I find these words helpful to remember "If you are not part of the solution, then you are part of the problem." Almost everyone from time to time seeks to avoid - in ways that can be quite subtle - the pain of assuming responsibility for our own problems. When you become able to embrace your problems and see them as opportunities something powerful is beginning. I now know that when Luke died something powerful started to happen but I was understandably blinded by grief. Now I am different, the communication between my internal and external worlds has improved and I am better able to make sense of things. This has been achieved by talking and listening. As a society I believe we need to both talk and listen to each other more.
CHRISTMAS GREETINGS 2012
INSPIRING YEAR FOR THE LUKE BITMEAD MEMORIAL FUND
This year we have felt embraced by people whose generosity of spirit lifted us when we were down and celebrated with us when we were up! The effervescence of the London Olympics certainly displayed competitiveness at its highest level with appreciation of being part of an uplifting experience.
It is truly meaningful for us that we have replicated this feeling of being uplifted by presenting a bursary for fledgling writers. Now we have our fifth winner Joanne Graham and she sent this message:
"I can honestly say I have never been more surprised than I was when I discovered I had won. I was genuinely so thrilled to have been shortlisted, as for me that was validation that I could actually write (something that, I am sure, most authors doubt), it never occurred to me that I could win, I was just looking forward to a lovely night out meeting interesting people.
It has, as you said, taken a while to sink in and I am beyond happy to be in the position I am in now, somewhere I never thought I would be. I cannot thank you enough for the incredible work you do in Luke's name, I imagine that, whatever comes after this life, and wherever he is, he must be so proud of you and everything you have achieved.
It was so great for me that my family could be there. My children have had to put up with me being so tired at times as I worked such long hours to get the book completed, on top of my day job and single parenthood, so it meant the world that they could share in something so positive".
Joanne's daughter Kiera and son Sam were delightfully respectful of the occasion. I didn't know they were there until we announced Joanne as our winner. Then there was a thunderous cheer from them along with Joanne's Mother and brother Dave.
This time of year remains particularly difficult without Luke but it is a tremendous help to receive empathic messages from people who recognise that grief for the death of a child is a lifetime's work. To know that other people care is comforting and thank you to the people that acknowledge we have a sadness in our hearts that will always be there.
Over the years since Luke's death I have received messages from other parents who have also experienced the trauma of the death of a child and I send you the hope that with time you will be able to remember the joy of your child and discover a way to celebrate their life.
I know we are incredibly lucky that Luke left us a way forward because of his talent as a writer. Our Bursary winners are not only talented writers but empathic people who have certainly played there part in enabling us to laugh again.
There have been moments when I have soared like a lark because of people's generosity showing how they wish to support us with donations and other acts of kindness. A huge and heartfelt thank you to everyone who has encouraged us. We wish you all a Christmas that is meaningful to you spreading happiness and harmony leading to personal awareness that makes living more full and more real.
LUKE BITMEAD BURSARY PRESENTATION 29.11.12
Here is the speech I made on presentation night. We were sorry not all our donors and supporters that had planned to be with us were able to make the journey because of floods, land slides and health problems. I hope reading these words helps you to feel part of the occasion - we missed you.
Tonight I have the absolute pleasure of welcoming another fledgling writer into what the delightful Ruth Dugdall, our second Bursary winner, named Luke's writing family. It has certainly helped to soothe my pain to know that with the superb support of Tom Chalmers of Legend Press we have been instrumental in bringing talented writers out of the shadows and into the sunlight. Andrew Blackman our first Bursary winner has taken this literally as tonight he is in Barbados where he has been for the past year with his wife Genie and her family. He has been writing his second book that will be launched next April.
We know that winning Luke's Bursary has helped all four writers get themselves on a clearer pathway to a writing career. Sophie Duffy had her second book This Holey Life published earlier this year and our fourth winner J.R. Crook having had his book Sleeping Patterns published is now using his Bursary cheque to help support himself while he focuses on his writing.
To have a publishing contract is every writers dream. Of course a publishing contract is not just a piece of paper it is having the Legend Team of Lucy, with the unpronounceable surname, Publicity Director, she is getting married next year changing her name to Chamberlain and Lauren who is Editor extraordinaire as Tom calls her. They will work with you and guide you as your book takes its final steps to being placed on bookshelves around the country. It has added to our pleasure to see that in past years other finalists have gone on to achieve publishing contracts as well. I do hope not only the winner tonight but all of you who have been selected as a finalist, from hundreds of entries, will feel you have achieved recognition for your talent as a writer.
The method that Freud hit upon to cure his patients was a dialectical one, the 'talking cure' which involved two people. He had inadvertently stumbled upon the most potent formula for change. Talking to others, forming a relationship with someone who listens to how you feel, is the major element in unblocking the emotional plumbing and in formulating new, more effective emotion strategies. Writing can be very solitary so maybe this evening will provide an opportunity to talk to fellow writers making new connections that will hopefully be enriching for your lives and your writing.
Every year we have to find ways to raise funds and we are extremely fortunate to have loyal donators who every year help us reach our target. This year we launched the last book we have of Luke's, The Body is a Temple all the royalties from Luke's books go into the fund. Unfortunately I was unwell this summer and was unable to do the promotion I had planned so sales have not been as good as we had hoped and that means fewer royalties. It is amazing how unexpectedly help arrived. A school friend of Luke's said he would run a half-marathon to raise funds. His name is Phil Robinson, brilliant musician and song writer. A man with great generosity of spirit. He gave the most beautiful eulogy for Luke at his funeral and on that day when all I wanted to do was sob he managed to make me laugh by reminding me of the joy of Luke.
Phil told me he would not be medalling or standing on the podium, so remembering this has been our Olympic year maybe I can surprise him. He ran a personal best in torrential rain and turbulent winds getting very wet. In doing so he raised £1,870 for Luke's Bursary and that is absolutely brilliant not only knowing we have financial support but that a friend of Luke's, who manages his own business, has two young children who he tries to manage and a beautiful wife, thought enough of Luke to honour him in this way. Phil please will you come and join me here because I have something I would like to give you. Phil thank you for helping Luke's writing family to continue growing. (Phil bent his head so I could put a medal around his neck.)
Congratulations to Tom on expanding the Legend team by the birth of his daughter this year on 7th August she is called Nylah and judging by the photographs is absolutely beautiful.
Presentation to finalists and our winner JOANNE GRAHAM.
Collection for funds was made in a large bucket lent to me by Philippa Graham (no relation to the winner.) She is one of our valued judges who has also been a generous donor but was unable to be with us on presentation night. I wish she had been there for me to thank in person for all the support she has given to the Luke Bitmead Memorial Fund, that is growing tremendously.
Winner of the 2012 Luke Bitmead Bursary announced
Unpublished author Joanne Graham from Exeter has been announced as the winner of the 2012 Luke Bitmead Writer's Bursary, in an award ceremony in Central London last night. Joanne received a cheque for £2,500 as well as a publishing contract with Legend Press for her debut novel Lacey's House. The novel will be published Summer 2013.
Two additional prizes were awarded on the night to 2nd and 3rd place writers Stacey Matheson for her novel Hospital Corners and Andrew Stevens for his novel The Poet. The winners were chosen from a shortlist of 10 authors by a judging panel including award-winning authors Sam Mills and Ruth Dugdall, Luke's Mother Elaine Hanson, Philippa Graham and Tom Chalmers, Lucy Boguslawski and Lauren Parsons from Legend Press.
The bursary is funded by the Luke Bitmead Memorial Fund, founded by Luke's family in association with Legend Press in 2006, shortly after Luke's tragic death at the age of just 34. Luke's book White Summer was the first novel to be published by Legend Press and Luke was one of the UK's most talented up-and-coming writers. Legend Press are delighted to be working with Luke's family to ensure that Luke's name and memory lives on. The bursary, now in its fifth year, was set up to encourage and support the work of struggling talented writers, whose work is yet to be published. Previous winners of the award are: Andrew Blackman in 2008 for On the Holloway Road, Ruth Dugdall in 2009 for The Woman Before Me, Sophie Duffy in 2010 for The Generation Game and J.R. Crook in 2011 for Sleeping Patterns.
Tom Chalmers, Managing Director of Legend Press, commented: "We are delighted to announce Joanne Graham as the winner of this year's Bursary. Lacey's House is a beautifully evocative and powerful novel, with great commercial potential and we very much look forward to working with Joanne in the run up to publication next year. The judges were enthralled by Joanne's engaging writing style, and felt readers would be gripped by her powerful narrative style."
Luke's mother, Elaine Hanson commented: "The Luke Bitmead Memorial Fund has been set up for two reasons, firstly to give support to unpublished fledgling writers, particularly those who have striven to work through the disempowering feelings of anxiety and depression. Secondly to eradicate the stigma that prevents mental health problems being discussed openly enabling support and understanding. With the rock solid support of Legend Press it feels as if we are helping to encourage creativity and inspire openness and compassion which must help generate a healthier environment for us all. It is brilliant to see this is working as demonstrated by our four Bursary winners who now say they are living their lives with more self-belief. Writing can be solitary work and we can see how another opportunity that the Bursary provides is for writers to be in touch with likeminded people helping them gain confidence in developing their talent. A creative society is a healthy society."
THE WINNER HAS BEEN CHOSEN FOR THE LUKE BITMEAD BURSARY 2012
As we anticipated it was a meeting full of energy to discover whether we would agree who from our wonderful selection of finalists would receive Luke's Bursary this year. The judging panel is well balanced with six people who bring different aspects of their professional qualifications and life experience to the table. Again everyone's voice was heard and after several hours with vigorous debates we were unanimous in our decision.
THE WINNER WILL BE ANNOUNCED ON THURSDAY 29TH NOVEMBER 2012 at a presentation in London.
Here is our second Bursary winner RUTH DUGDALL who sent us this powerful, spontaneous message.
I have just come back from talking to 40 people about how the bursary changed my life, so I'm just going to channel some of the raw emotion that I'm feeling right now:
"Winning the Luke Bitmead Bursary literally saved my life. I hadn't left my bed for a whole week and I had just about abandoned hope of ever seeing my novel in print! I'd faced years of rejections and had my dreams of being published dashed countless times, so winning meant - and still means - everything to me. Establishing the bursary in memory of her son, Elaine Hanson has done a wonderful thing. Long may it thrive."
Below are ANDREW BLACKMAN'S reflections on what winning meant to him. Andrew was our first winner, five years ago and it is part of the whole essence of Luke's Fund that we stay in touch with each other and give support to each other when we are able.
"From a distance of four years, I can say that the Bursary was really the breakthrough that changed the whole direction of my writing career. Beyond the money and the publishing deal for On the Holloway Road, winning the prize enabled me to start thinking of myself as a professional writer. I now have an agent, a second novel due out in April, and a third in the works. I know I am lucky, because I come across so many good writers with good ideas who just can't get a publishing deal. Winning the Bursary gave me a wonderful start, and now I feel that I am on my way."
More Bursary winner's reflections soon.
JUDGING PANEL MEETING
This Thursday 22nd November the judging panel will be meeting to decide this year's winner of the Luke Bitmead Writer's Bursary.
We are all bubbling with excitement and anticipation of a dynamic meeting when we can discuss the finalists books.
The words of Ben Sweetland seem appropriate:
"We cannot hold a torch to light another's path without brightening our own."
It has been a privilege to read new work by, as yet unknown, writers.
During the days leading up to the presentation on the 29th November we will be posting thoughts from our four Bursary winners saying how it has made a difference to their lives.