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Caroline Hawkridge wins the Julia Darling Travel Fellowship 2018


The Julia Darling Travel Fellowship 2018 has been awarded to Caroline Hawkridge from Cheshire.

Caroline will be using the £2,000 Fellowship to return to Zimbabwe for the first time since her family left 50 years ago. Inspired by Julia’s First Aid Kit for the Mind and her love of travel, Caroline will head to Africa to explore what home really means as a child immigrant. The experience will aid the writing of her first poetry collection.

On hearing of being awarded the prize Caroline said:

“The paper aeroplane which I folded from a map of Africa when I saw a map-plane in Julia Darling’s First Aid Kit for the Mind is still here on my desk. Now it will fly south like a swallow at the end of summer and in Julia’s name. I am incredibly grateful to everyone concerned with the Fellowship for the breath-taking opportunity to return to my childhood home of Zimbabwe for the first time since I left, aged 9. According to UNICEF, 31 million children were living outside their country of birth in 2015. Does a swallow belong to two continents – or none? Perhaps home is the work of homing? Now I have a deeply creative opportunity to find out.”

Caroline  is a writer and poet as well as an agent and project manager for innovative literary projects via The Hawkridge Agency. After co-founding the national charity The Endometriosis Society, Caroline began her writing career with two groundbreaking women’s health books, Understanding Endometriosis (Optima, Little Brown) and The Menopause, HRT and You (Penguin), which enabled women to bear witness and be heard. She has since completed an MA in Creative Writing in Manchester Metropolitan University and decided to turn her writing interests from the silence of patients to the silence she has experienced as a child immigrant.


Here’s what this years judges had to say about Caroline’s entry

“Caroline Hawkridge described herself as a ‘reluctant traveller’ who had been inspired by Julia’s paper aeroplane, in First Aid Kit for the Mind, to think about returning, for the first time since she left, to her birthplace in Zimbabwe. We liked the sense of personal risk involved in this, and the new turn in her writing career that it promised. Her application was exciting and inspiring and was our unanimous choice.”

Linda Anderson – Director of the Newcastle Poetry Festival 


“Having done groundbreaking work on women’s health, the writer now plans to confront ‘her own colonial heritage’ in Zimbabwe to see if ‘common ground’ can be found. There was a vitality about the application that reminded me of how Julia often approached new work.”

Kitty Fitzgerald – author 


“This was an intriguing, brave submission, seeking to explore the politics of identity, the impact of colonialism and feminist strategies. Her deep interest in health issues, and the way that Julia’s work (such as First Aid Kit for the Mind) had clearly inspired her, made this a winning entry.”

Jan Clements –  close friend of Julia’s 


“Judging this fellowship gets harder every year as there are so many interesting proposals and ideas. Each and every one has merit from just needing space and peace to write to subterranean exploration, cargo ships across the Atlantic and the winning entry of ‘the reluctant traveller’ returning to Zimbabwe after leaving as a child. Good luck to all those who applied in realising their stories.”

Bev Robinson – Julia’s partner