Manchester Blog Awards, Wednesday 19th October, 7pm, Deaf Institute
Words by Tom Mason.
The literati of the city gathered in Trof Deaf Institute yesterday to celebrate the annual Manchester Blog Awards. Now in its sixth year, the event, which is part of the Manchester Literature Festival, is one of the landmark evenings in the local blogging community; each year, hundreds of residents submit their favourite local blogs for inclusion in the awards and, from that list, a select few are shortlisted for a gong. Gong is a fun word to say, isn’t it?
Anyway, last night, those lucky shortlisted few discovered which of them would walk away with one of six awards: Best City And Neighbourhood Blog, Best Personal Blog, Best Arts And Culture Blog, Best New Blog, Best Writing On A Blog and, the grand prix prize, Blog Of The Year. Links to the shortlisted blogs in each category and the eventual winners can be found on the MBA website.
The event, hosted by the organiser of the entire affair – the fabulous Kate Feld - started with four readings from The Real Story series, an autobiographical writing competition held in the summer. Melanie Amri, Benjamin Judge, Nija Dalal, Shabnam Younus and David Day read a wonderful collection of tales from the heart. David Day captivated the room with a tale from his youth while Benjamin Judge reduced more than a few onlookers to tears with a poignant tale about coffee with his late father. You can read all of these excellent stories in their entirety on The Real Story website. Be prepared for sniffles.
The various shortlisted bloggers then took to the stage to read their wares. Tom Mason, Sarah-Clare Conlon and Dave Hartley all shared pieces of flash fiction from the site 330 Words, nominated in the Best Writing category, while Claire Massey enjoyed a captivated audience for a reading off her blog, Gathering Scraps, nominated in the Best New Blog category. Finally, the wonderfully named Benedict le Gauche stepped into the limelight, reeling off an entry to his fabulously witty blog Curriculum Vitae (shortlisted in the Best New Writing category). Laughs were had.
As the evening drew closer to its conclusion, the crowd were treated to an extract from the witty tongue of Socrates Adams, an author who you’ll be hearing much more from in the coming months. Socrates performed a marvellous reading from his soon-to-be-published debut novel Everything’s Fine, which is released in January.
The business-end of the evening saw the award-winners announced. Hayley Flynn claimed the gong for Best City and Neighbourhood Blog with Skyliner, her fantastic investigation into the history of Manchester’s buildings, while Best New Blog was awarded to David Hartley for his film review site Screen150. The Bests Arts and Culture Blog award, sponsored by the legendary Creative Tourist site, was picked up by Shrieking Violet. Best Personal Blog was claimed by Food Legend and the award for Best Writing On A Blog was split between the aforementioned Benedict le Gauche and http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifBenjamin Judge. The top award, given to the blog with the most votes from the public and judges, was scooped by Dave Hartley for Screen150. The winners, if you’re curious, were awarded a lovely cheque and free domain hosting for a year (courtesy of the folks at 34sp.com).
And it was all wonderful.
Tom Mason is a writer who runs the collaborative flash fiction writing blog 330 Words, winner of the Best New Blog category in the 2010 Manchester Blog Awards.