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Jonathan Smith scoops Betjeman Society Award 2021

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Novelist and playwright Jonathan Smith wins trophy for his "intensely personal" book Being Betjeman(n)

LONDON - s4story -- The Gloucestershire-based novelist, playwright and educationalist Jonathan Smith has been presented with The Betjeman Society's 2021 Award for "the most significant recent contribution to the understanding or enjoyment of the life and work of Sir John Betjeman."

Jonathan Smith is the author of Being Betjeman(n), published in 2020 by Galileo, and two radio plays, Mr Betjeman's Class and Mr Betjeman Regrets which were broadcast by BBC Radio 4 in 2017.

The Betjeman Society (www.betjemansociety.com) – which exists to celebrate the life and achievements of the poet, writer, broadcaster, conservationist and railway campaigner John Betjeman – describes Jonathan Smith as having had "a lifelong obsession with Betjeman" leading up to last year's publication of Being Betjeman(n).

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Jonathan was presented with his Betjeman Society Award on Saturday 28 August (Betjeman's birthday) by Sir John's biographer, Bevis Hillier, at a special ceremony held at London's St Pancras Station, the Victorian architectural masterpiece that Betjeman helped to save from demolition in the 1960s.

In the citation for the Award, the judges state of Being Betjeman(n): "The book combines autobiographical elements, while at the same time presenting imagined dialogue from episodes in Betjeman's life, with some factual basis. It is a fascinating book, intensely personal, with deep introspection, and it is clear to the reader that Betjeman has got under his skin right from his early days as an undergraduate at Cambridge. Jonathan is a staunch supporter of John Betjeman's reputation and Being Betjeman(n) is a great and thought-provoking addition to the works about his life and achievements."

The Award winner's trophy is a limited-edition cast bronze maquette of the iconic John Betjeman statue at St Pancras Station. The trophy is mounted on a Caithness stone base. Lance Pierson, Chairman of The Betjeman Society, comments: "Jonathan Smith is a worthy winner of the Betjeman Society Award. His book is a significant new addition to Betjeman literature, even in a new composite genre. It is full of insight, as befits someone who has lived with his subject matter and reflected on it for most of his lifetime. We are all the richer for it."

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The Betjeman Society Award is presented every year to a "person, group or organisation which in the opinion of the Council has made the most significant recent contribution to the understanding or enjoyment of the life and work of Sir John Betjeman." The large number of nominations for this year's Award reflects the continued interest in Betjeman's work.

For more information go to http://www.betjemansociety.com

Andy Smith, Press Officer, Betjeman Society
07737 271676

Source: Betjeman Society
Filed Under: Literature

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