A year-long initiative to celebrate the arts, boost literacy, drive tourism and support business in the North East region
LJ Ross, the international bestselling author of the DCI Ryan series, today announces the launch of Read, Write, Walk North East – with LJ Ross, a new initiative celebrating, promoting and supporting her beloved birthplace and the inspiration behind her novels.
At a time when the creative arts industries are struggling, there is ever-growing pressure on families, and businesses face mounting insecurity, the multi-faceted initiative, launched in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, will form the backbone of LJ Ross’s many philanthropic endeavours, allowing her to continue to give back to the region she loves.
Read Write Walk North East – with LJ Ross features writing prizes to inspire storytelling, photography competitions to support the creative arts, reading challenges to improve literacy, literary trails to boost tourism, and community grants of up to £50,000 to help local businesses affected by COVID-19.
LJ Ross said: “Read, Write, Walk North East was inspired by my readers. I’ve been so fortunate during my career to have garnered a loyal and generous fan base, many of whom come from the North East, where my DCI Ryan series is set and where I was born, grew up and now live with my husband and son.
“At a time when community spirit and kindness are all important, I wanted to do my part in giving back wherever I am able, and that’s where this initiative comes in. It covers a host of different prizes, grants and wellbeing projects launching over the coming months designed to support creative arts, literacy and local enterprise – as well as spotlighting some of the incredible people, landscapes, talent and hard work in the region that I love.”
The initiative will include the following events, awards, schemes and activities:
Literary walking trails
Launching this week, a series of literary walking trails have been developed so that readers, both local and visiting, can retrace the footsteps of DCI Ryan in each of LJ Ross’s famous novels. The curated “Walk with Ryan” routes, which are linked to smartphone GPS navigation, will enable fans to discover and explore the stunning scenery at the heart of the hugely popular series (in accordance with government safety guidelines), while boosting tourism to local businesses.
Northern Photography Prize
Next week, entries for the inaugural Northern Photography Prize 2021, sponsored by Dark Skies Publishing, will be open. The amateur photography prize, which aims to celebrate the spirit and heart of the North East, includes a £1,000 prize for best landscape image and a £1,000 prize for best portrait image. In addition to their cash prize, shortlisted and winning entries will have the opportunity to be included in a book celebrating the area, the proceeds of which will go to local food banks, and see their work exhibited in a prestigious gallery.
Lindisfarne Prize for Crime Fiction
Now in its third year, the prize which LJ Ross founded in partnership with the Newcastle Noir Literary Festival and Newcastle Libraries is back once again and on the hunt for the best local writing talent. The submission process for the 2021 prize is now open and this year, for the very first time, both established and emerging writers are eligible to enter.
Lindisfarne Children’s Prize
Launching in 2021 in conjunction with schools in the North East, LJ Ross will introduce a new prize which celebrates young storytellers and offers tiered prize packages to talented young writers and their school libraries.
Lindisfarne Reading Challenge
In the New Year, LJ Ross will extend the pilot of her innovative new reading scheme for disadvantaged children at secondary school level. The new model rewards children when they finish reading five books of their choice and she hopes to roll out the challenge more widely across the North East and beyond, eventually providing a blueprint for schools across the country.
Dark Skies Publishing Community Fund
While many small businesses are battling to survive amidst the uncertainty around the pandemic, LJ Ross has established a community fund of up to £50,000, which will be renewed in January 2021. Local businesses in the North East can apply online for informal grants of up to £10,000, providing the investment is used for proactive purposes.
For more information about LJ Ross, her books and her Read, Write, Walk North East initiative, visit ljrossauthor.com.