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How to Exit a Burning Building

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Christina Thatcher and Rachel Trezise

'A car roared past on the road behind, bare arms of topless boys dangling and waving from the open windows as a pulse of music drummed out and faded along with the engine. I imagined one day Jonty would do things like that too.’ 


From Natalie Ann Holborow's winning story, 'The Bees’


This anthology showcases the winning and commended work from the Robin Reeves Prize for Young Writers 2015, an award established by the Welsh Writers' Trust to highlight the young voices emerging in Wales's vibrant literary scene. Writers aged 17 - 24 were invited to submit pieces about transcending traumas, and the words in these pages are powerful, enthralling and honest. 


From the plight of Welsh mining towns to the dramas of domestic life, this collection of fiction, poetry and creative non-fiction provides a dynamic insight into what it means to overcome cultural, social and personal adversity.


Foreword by Mark Blayney


About the Welsh Writers’ Trust: The WWT was formed in 1986 to support and encourage English writing in Wales. In this time the Trust has helped nurture both new and well-established creative writing talent and has helped many of the current stalwarts of the Welsh literary scene on their way to success. For more information please visit: https://welshwriterstrust.wordpress.com


About The Winner: Natalie Ann Holborow is an MA graduate in Creative Writing at Swansea University and is currently writer-in-residence at the Dylan Thomas birthplace. By day, she works with words as an Instructional Designer, and by night she is compere of Mad As Birds, a monthly spoken word and music open mic in her lovely, ugly town. She is the winner of the Terry Hetherington Award 2015 and has been highly commended for various others including the Bridport Prize, Hippocrates Prize, Jane Martin Poetry Prize and was longlisted for the National Poetry Prize 2015. She has recently been published in The Stinging Fly and New Welsh Review. She would love to see her debut poetry collection edited, the first draft of her novel written, and to see the Swans move up in the league table by 2017. She is 24 now and was 23 years old when she entered the competition.


About the Editors: 


Christina Thatcher is a PhD student and postgraduate tutor at Cardiff University where she studies how creative writing can impact the lives of people bereaved by addiction. Christina keeps busy off campus too by delivering creative writing workshops across south Wales, running projects for organisations like Making Minds and the Welsh Writers’ Trust, coordinating literature events for Made in Roath Festival, and more. Her work has featured in a number of publications including The London Magazine, Planet Magazine, and the Lampeter Review. Her poetry collection, More than you were, was recently shortlisted in Bare Fiction’s Debut Poetry Collection Competition. To learn more about Christina’s work please visit her blog: https://collectingwords.wordpress.com or follow her on Twitter @writetoempower.


Rachel Trezise was born in the Rhondda valley, south Wales in 1978. She studied Journalism and English at Glamorgan University and Geography and History at Limerick University, simultaneously writing her first novel. 

Her semi-autobiographical novel In and Out of the Goldfish Bowl was published in 2001. It attracted much critical acclaim and won a place on the Orange Futures List. The book is studied in most Welsh Universities and is on the British Literature reading list at the University of Montreal. In 2003 Harpers & Queens magazine described her as ‘the new face of (British) literature'. 

Her second book, a short story collection called Fresh Apples was published in 2005 and won the inaugural Dylan Thomas Prize in 2006. Trezise was writer of residence at the University of Texas in spring 2007. Dial M for Merthyr, her third book, was published in 2007 and won the inaugural Max Boyce Prize in 2010. Her first radio play Lemon Meringue Pie was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in September 2008. Her most recent book Sixteen Shades of Crazy was published in April 2010. Her work has been translated into several languages and has been published in Australia and New Zealand, Denmark, Ethiopia and Italy. She is married and still lives in Wales.

Her latest book, Cosmic Latte, was published in May 2013, while her National Theatre Wales play Tonypandemonium  was released in October of the same year.