Scarborough Writers' Circle chairwoman Lel Meleyal celebrates book award success

Scarborough prize-winning author Lel Meleyal is celebrating being runner-up in the Pen to Print National Book Prize competition.
Scarborough prize-winning author Lel Meleyal with her book Everyday WendyScarborough prize-winning author Lel Meleyal with her book Everyday Wendy
Scarborough prize-winning author Lel Meleyal with her book Everyday Wendy

Her success was announced at a London awards ceremony held at the Broadway Theatre.

The Arts Council funded competition is organised by the Barking and Dagenham Library Service and supported by the chairwoman for the awards, bestselling author Martina Cole.

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“I am thrilled to have my work recognised by such a prestigious competition,” said Lel, chairwoman of the Scarborough Writers’ Circle.

Her book Everyday Wendy tells the story of a woman entering her 60s keen to expand her horizons and experience new things.

One of her new adventures involves hula hooping where she meets a group of people who introduce her to new lifestyles and ways of thinking.

Just as her life becomes more adventurous, two shocking, life-changing events change her world forever.

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Wendy’s new hula-hooping chums help her navigate her way through the happiest and saddest times she could ever have imagined.

Lell wrote the book during lockdown.

“Before lockdown, my family had navigated five years of my sister having treatment for breast cancer. Throughout all of her treatments, she remained positive, joyful and grateful for every shred of life,” she said.

"When the UK went into lockdown and times were scary and bleak, the memory of her positivity inspired me to write a funny, joyful and uplifting story and Everyday Wendy was the result.

"I know my sister, who we sadly lost in 2019, would have loved it and I hope others will too”.

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"I didn’t specifically name places along the coast, but eagle-eyed local readers might recognise the influence of Scarborough, Bridlington, Hornsea and Withernsea on locations mentioned in the book. Wendy’s story is one of life, friendship, laughter and love and where better than our glorious East Coast to set it".

Lel Meleyal was born in Hull and lived in Brighton for 20 years.

She moved to her new home in Scarborough in 2020 when she became chairwoman of the Scarborough Writers’ Circle and has had her work featured in productions at the Stephen Joseph Theatre and York Theatre Royal.

She has been a writing mentor to Scarborough Stories – street theatre – produced by Arcade.

Lel is working on her next novel which is also set on the coastline of North Yorkshire.