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Call for entries to the Sydney Gardens Tree Weekender writing competition

Sydney Gardens has launched a writing competition to promote its Tree Weekender which will run on Saturday 27 and Sunday 28 November.

The Tree Weekender will celebrate the National Lottery Heritage funded restoration of the park and the dozens of trees and associated ecosystems within the park. There will be two days of online and on-the-ground activities and events including tree meditation, guided tree walks and family arts and crafts activities.

In the run up to the event, residents are invited to get creative on the theme of ‘trees in parks and public gardens’ and write a poem or a story in less than 250 words to express their feelings, love or respect for the trees.

ReThinking Cities, the organisation behind the Urban Tree Festival and other public projects, is working with the Sydney Gardens project team on the Tree Weekender. They are challenging writers to tell them about the trees that grow near to where they live and what value they bring to the neighbourhood, or to write about how the trees came to be there, where they originated, how they are cared for and managed, or the history throughout their lives.

Councillor Jess David, Member Advocate for Biodiversity, said: “We know how special trees are and how important it is to have trees in parks and gardens close to where we live. The Tree Weekender will allow us to celebrate some of the wonderful trees in the park some of which were planted shortly after the park opened in 1795.  

“We want to involve as many people as possible in the writing competition, so even if you have never been to Bath or Sydney Gardens you can write a story about a tree in a park or a public garden near you. It’s an excellent way to celebrate the importance of trees in our lives, not only in helping to address climate change and improving the area for biodiversity but the positive impact they have on us in terms of health and mental-wellbeing.”

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The volunteer judges will select poems and stories to be published on the website ahead of the Sydney Gardens Tree Weekender. Students from Bath Spa University will record the stories and have plans to digitally geo-locate them in the gardens and surrounding streets.

Shortlisted authors will be invited to join an exclusive nature writing online roundtable on Saturday 27 November and given the opportunity to read their work during the finale of the event on Sunday 28 November.

The judges include poet and non-fiction writer, Samantha Walton, a lecturer at Bath Spa University and Nigel Bristow a screen writer, director and visual artist who runs the MA in Directing Fiction at Goldsmiths University of London.

They will be joined by Charlotte Smith from the council's Parks and Trees service and Andrew Stuck the co-ordinator of the Sydney Gardens Tree Weekender.

The winners in both the poetry and prose categories will receive a £50 Book Token and, together with the runners up, an artwork to illustrate their poem or story created by Alban Low. There will also be an artwork prize for the best poem and story submitted by a B&NES resident.

The competition is free to enter but limited to two submissions per person. Entries should be emailed to sydneygardenstreeweekender@gmail.com .

 

The competition closes on Monday 1 November, or when the judges receive 125 submissions. Full details can be found on the website: https://www.bathnes.gov.uk/services/sport-leisure-and-parks/parks-green-spaces/sydney-gardens/tree-weekender

The Sydney Gardens Tree Weekender writing competition is run by Rethinking Cities Ltd / Museum of Walking on behalf Bath & North East Somerset Council.

The full programme for the Tree Weekender will be announced in November. Most events will be free, but events which have limited capacity will require advance booking.