Lewes FC: Duncan Brown wins club’s inaugural Rooker Prize writing competition

Southampton-based Lewes FC owner Duncan Brown has won the club’s inaugural writing competition with a 250-word novel opener called ‘Black Premonition’.

Southampton-based Lewes FC owner Duncan Brown has won the club’s inaugural writing competition with a 250-word novel opener called ‘Black Premonition’.

Lewes FC – a football club owned by some 2300 worldwide community shareholders and rising – recently announced the Rooker Prize, a writing competition for its owners, challenging them to compose a 250-word opening to a novel of any specified literary genre.

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The judges announced the winner on the evening of April 27, the same day as International Crow and Raven Appreciation Day, which the club said was a 'very appropriate day' to name the Rooker Prize winner.

Lewes FC owner Duncan Brown has won the club’s inaugural writing competition

Duncan Brown said: “Given that it was Crow and Raven Appreciation Day, I am properly chough-ed to have won the inaugural Rooker Prize. I chose the historical novel genre because the Dripping Pan name reminds me of the pottery dripping pans used from the 13th to 16th centuries to catch the fat that dripped from meats roasting on spits in front of hearths and open fires.”

The idea for the award began at the club's Christmas do and 17 owners of the football club entered the inaugural competition - where the winner received a pen-nib award especially made by local carver and engraver Neil Turner.

The club is nicknamed The Rooks after both the town's castle and the birds which nest around home ground The Dripping Pan.

Head Judge and elected Lewes director Karen Dobres explained: "Our club often makes the link between football and the wider world through culture, and The Rooker Prize is another manifestation of the way football reflects and impacts society, and has the power to bring communities of interest together."

The winner received a pen-nib award especially made by local carver and engraver Neil Turner.

The judges said ‘Black Premonition’ was favoured because of for its 'descriptive power and imagery', and the fact that they were left eager to know what would happen next.

Other shortlisted entries were Biram Desai’s Untitled science fiction and Charlie Stubbs' thriller Court of Crows. These entries can be read on Lewes FC’s website here.

Karen said: "Brown’s piece seemed to answer all our criteria perfectly. We were looking at the quality of writing, whether it made us feel more alive in some way, and asking ourselves how much we wanted to read the rest of the novel. Congratulations to Duncan, and thank you to all the Lewes owners who entered the first ever Rooker Prize."

Duncan wants the trophy to be displayed behind the bar at the Rook Inn, where he hopes it might inspire more people to enter next year's competition.

The judges said ‘Black Premonition’ was favoured because of for its 'descriptive power and imagery'

Duncan has also won £250 to donate to Kangaroos – a charity which provides activities and sports opportunities to children with learning disabilities.

He said: “I looked for something sports-related and found Kangaroos, based in my hometown of Haywards Heath. They also originated at a school in Cuckfield, which is where my brother was born and my parents ashes are buried. Also, my twin sister lives in Australia, so their name is a nod to her. You can find out more on their website: www.kangaroos.org.uk.”

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