The Society, in furtherance of its aims to support study related to the life and works of Dorothy L Sayers, currently makes a number of renewable annual awards, intended to be held by young people at the beginning of their careers.
This award was instituted in 2005. The current holder is violinist Joy Becker. She was presented with her award on 6th March 2010 at the Royal Northern College of Music, after a concert in which she performed pieces by Dvořák, Mozart and Corelli.
The first holder was Helena Buckie, who held the award for five years to support her studies in violin and trumpet at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, during which time she performed regularly at Society events.
This award was instituted in 2006, in conjunction with Theatre Centre. The current holder is Clare Chater. She was presented with her award by Sam Donavan (our second Award holder), after the AGM in November 2010. Previous holders have been Marcy Oni, Sam Donavan, Robert Solar and Michael Lyle.
Theatre Centre was founded in 1953 by Brian Way. Dorothy L Sayers became involved at a very early stage after seeing “an astonishingly good potted production” of her radio series The Man Born to be King. She immediately joined the Management Committee and donated £200. She wrote to her friend Norah Lambourne: “I have gone into management in a small way!!…Brian Way is quite a remarkable producer…and he and Margaret Faulkes are…keen and businesslike. They started the whole show on twopence ha’penny of their own…but they have just discovered that twopence ha’penny won’t really run productions and pay rent…so thinking they were worth helping, I said I would finance them for a year and see how they got on. The poor dears quite goggled with pleasure and surprise and I felt a blooming benefactor.”
This award was instituted in 2009. The current holder is Felicity Lister. The award enabled her to attend the Keele Ringing Course in July 2010. The previous holder was Chloë Guthrie.
Felicity was nominated by the Ladies’ Guild of Change Ringers. Dorothy L Sayers was an honorary member of the Guild, enabling her to write knowledgeably about ringing in The Nine Tailors.
Dame Norma Major made the presentation to Felicity in St Mary’s Church, Bluntisham on Saturday 26th June 2010. There were some appropriate readings and the bells were rung. There is a full review of the events in Bulletin 210.
In addition to the above awards for young people, the Society has also created a new open competitive award named after its President, the Italian scholar and writer Dr Barbara Reynolds. It is awarded in respect of a work which reflects or furthers some aspect of the life or work of Dorothy L Sayers.
The first award of £1000 was presented to Crystal Downing on Saturday 13th June 2009 in the Michaelhouse Centre, Cambridge by Dr Barbara Reynolds. The date was specially chosen since it is the joint birthday of Barbara Reynolds and Dorothy L Sayers. Crystal Downing is Professor of English and Film Studies at Messiah College, Grantham, Pennsylvania; her winning book is Writing Performances: The Stages of Dorothy L Sayers.
Entries for the Award had been submitted from Australia, France, Germany, The United Kingdom and The United States of America. Themes covered Biography, Literature, Theology and Lord Peter Wimsey.
The press releases announcing the award and its presentation to Crystal are here and here.
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