Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Blog North Awards

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you probably know I'm the organiser of the Manchester Blog Awards, which started seven years ago. It happened in the cafe bar at then-Urbis. We were sharing the bill with a rather serious poetry reading night, and there were maybe 25 people there and most of them were probably there for the poetry. There weren't very many bloggers in Manchester back then. It still felt like we were doing something new (though this was by no means the actual dawn of blogging or anything.) It was exciting just meeting another blogger.

Over the last seven years, thanks to the support of Manchester Literature Festival, Arts Council England, and Manchester Digital Development Agency, we evolved into a bigger and better event - and, we like to think, helped a fair few writers (and photograpers and illustrators) in this city become better known, better supported or at least more fired up about their work. I know I'm biased, but Manchester's blogging community is pretty freaking awesome.

And now we're evolving again: We've just announced that the Manchester Blog Awards is becoming the Blog North Awards, and will merge with the Blog North network and events series organised jointly by my writing organisation Openstories, Manchester-based webzine Creative Tourist and artblog emporium The Culture Vulture from Leeds. I'll still be the main organiser and it will still be a part of the programme of Manchester Literature Festival, but it will now be open to bloggers across the North. And there are some new categories just to shake things up a bit: We'll be handing out awards for Best Food and Drink Blog, Best Young Blogger and Best Specialist Blog alongside our past categories of Best Arts and Culture Blog, Best Personal Blog, Best Writing on a Blog and Best City or Neighbourhood Blog on 17 October at The Deaf Institute.

Over on the Manchester Literature Festival Blog I spoke to Sarah-Clare Conlon about the event and answered some questions about why we're changing things and the state of blogging in general. I'm really looking forward to reading great blogs from Yorkshire, Cumbria, Merseyside, Northumberland and everywhere in between. And there are lots of them to read: 205 blogs are in the running as of today (gosh, I'd better get back to reading them.) You can enter your own blog or a blog you love reading over on our Blog North Awards website, where you'll also find all kinds of information about the competition and the event. And to keep up to speed on everything you can follow us on Twitter @blognorth or Facebook. Happy blogging.

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