As part of its 50th anniversary celebrations, Carers UK has published Family, friends and carers, an anthology of poems and short stories which capture the diversity of caring experiences and explore the joys and challenges of looking after a loved one. Over 300 entries were submitted to the creative writing competition held in the summer of 2014. The competition, running with the theme of family, friends and carers, was judged by award winning poet Cheryl Moskowitz, who also has personal experience of caring.
Family, friends and carers
The anthology includes the winning and highly commended poems and stories along with a selection of poems chosen by Carers UK volunteers, trustees and staff. The cover image was designed by Daphne Sanderson who has been a carer for 38 years. She produced the design around 40 years ago, shortly before she had to give up her career as a textile designer to look after her husband.
Thoughts on the anthology
Cheryl Moskowitz said that judging the competition was a privilege and an education: “We are invited to view the world of caring from a variety of real and imagined perspectives and consider afresh our definitions and expectations of love, relationships and responsibility.”
Heléna Herklots, Chief Executive of Carers UK says: “Caring is a near universal experience, and part of what makes us human, yet too often the experience of caring is hidden away, behind closed doors, a private issue. These poems and stories tell us about the joys that can be experienced, the learning that comes with caring, and the way it changes us. It also shows the resilience and courage that can be required.”
First place for the short stories category went to Val Ormrod for Clouds, expressing a “light and humorous touch and authentic depiction of the experience of dementia from the points of view of both carer and cared for”.
Joint first place in the poetry category went to Pru Kitching for her poem Muesli which “manages to conjure a real person, whole and fully fleshed out, despite the diminishing life it describes”, and Beth McDonough for To understand Chipone which “plays with language and evokes longing”.
Do you have a story to share? Carers UK will be running the creative writing competition again this summer. Visit the website for more information.
Carers UK supports our Reading Well Books on Prescription for dementia list which also provides support for relatives and carers. Discover the list here.