New Writers Awards 2017: Sally Huband

Narrative Non-Fiction

Sally writes narrative non-fiction and her work falls within the nature and travel writing genres.

Her writing has appeared in Driftfish, an anthology of marine species, Zoomorphic Magazine, The Island Review, Earth Lines, Shetland Life, Caught by the River and Shetland Create.

Her blog, Rain Geese and Selkies, was Highly Commended in BBC Wildlife Magazine’s 2015 Blogger Awards and in 2014 she was the winner of the 100 word FT Weekend’s Perfect Weekend Competition.


Writing Sample

Even in death, birch bark shines with a life-force all of its own. In strandlines it is easy to find, pale and radiant, lying amongst a tangle of dark seaweed and multi-coloured rope and net, and all the plastic. Most often it arrives tightly rolled, coils that fit neatly in the palm of my hand and it is very smooth to touch. It is marked with dark horizontal slashes, lenticels that allow the tree to breathe in life and which give birch its characteristic appearance.

Large pieces of driftwood look more worn by their journey. Some have clean and abrupt ends, suggesting the work of a forester. Others retain a short mess of upper roots, sometimes decorated with dead goose barnacles that have been helplessly wrecked by their ride. Many are patterned with an intricate fretwork of shipworm tunnels. Smaller, pale yellow lengths wash-up wizened and polished and are often bent at a right angle. These, I’ve been told, are the remains of the root collar, where the roots join the trunk. A sharp angle for a shallow rooted tree. Occasionally I find straight lengths where much of the wood looks to have been whittled away by the sea, leaving the more resinous and resistant knots jutting out like eyes on stalks. I’ve never once witnessed the moment that driftwood comes ashore.

from Driftwood, published in Earth Lines, Issue 15.


Sally says:

"I’m over the moon! The book that I hope to write now feels achievable, and this is incredibly exciting. Heartfelt thanks to Scottish Book Trust and to the panel of judges!"