Latest winner announced of Dan Hemingway Memorial Award at Cherwell

A TALENTED student has been given an award in tribute to a teenager who died on Christmas Day. The family of Dan Hemingway hold an annual memorial competition at The Cherwell School in Oxford, where he studied. It is open to Year 13 students and celebrates creativity in the arts and media, as its namesake had a keen love for literature but never got to reach his potential.

The youngster died in a collision on the A40 in 1991, while cycling home, and the Dan Hemingway Memorial Award was established by his parents Sue and John Hemingway in 1992. Molly Taylor has been named as the 2019 winner with her ‘zine’, which is a self-published work usually associated with punk music subculture. ALSO READ: The Art Room charity announces closure

The singer and songwriter, who plays under the name Aphra Taylor said: “It’s such an important award and awards people for being vulnerable within their art, who take a step back to find what they love and just create. “In a time when there is so much destruction, that is such a big thing – we need more creation, and more beauty.” The Year 13 student is currently studying her A-Levels, and has ambitions to become a professional musician.

Describing her entry, she said: “I took a lot of journal entries, cut them up and stuck them over each other [combined] with art and poetry. “It documented my year and what I went through.” The 17-year-old had already made the zine and given out copies at her gigs, when entries opened for the award.

Molly said: “I never thought I’d win, all the other entries were so amazing. “Everyone has a lot of talent at this school.” The zine explores themes including mental health and introspection, with a mixture of text and drawings.

Mr and Mrs Hemingway live in Cassington, West Oxfordshire, and run an art gallery there. ALSO READ: Truck music festival reveals this year’s band line-up They wanted to keep their son’s name alive by celebrating all kinds of artistic expression, from dance and film-making to music and painting.

Mrs Hemingway judged this year’s entries with two industry professionals – producer Miles Waters, and novelist Will Wiles, a former recipient of the award. Writing on the gallery website, she said: “Molly was awarded for her creative potential in producing zines that make great use of her drawing and writing skills. “Her winning submission was a highly unique black and white zine containing raw and personal lyrical writing inspired by her musical talent, filled with graphic illustrations.

“It was thought-provoking and the unanimous winner.” A separate competition specifically for short stories, the Dan Hemingway Prize, runs annually at the University of St Andrews in Scotland, where he was studying at the time of his death. Dan, who was the eldest of five siblings, had just completed his first term at the university

The Cherwell contest is open to any creative medium, offering a prize of GBP350, and the winner was announced in an assembly just before Christmas.

For the St Andrews contest, Mrs Hemingway calls the winner on the morning of Christmas Day to deliver the news.

Second-year student Molly Ketcheson won with her story called Vanishing Act.

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