On Friday 27th March, a gaggle of talented poets descended upon the Wisbech and Fenland Museum to take part in the fourth annual Fenland Poet Laureate Awards!
In case you aren't aware of the Fenland Poet Laureate Awards (and if you're not, then wherever have you been for the past three years?!) the competition is part of a local initiative that allows writers to compete for the title of Fenland Poet Laureate, a role that allows the winner to lead projects to help raise the profile of creative writing in the Fens.
The competition also gives budding poets aged 10-17 the chance to compete for the prize of Young Fenland Poet Laureate, and the whole programme aims to establish lots of wonderful opportunities for all the short-listed poets and for the wider community too.
Basically, we want to help people in Fenland to get creative, giving everyone the chance to engage with poetry and creative writing!
Anyway, this year's competition was our largest yet - we received over 130 entries and we were completely overwhelmed by the excellent quality of the poems submitted!
All of the entries were judged anonymously, and our top ten finalists in each category were invited to read their poetry at the awards ceremony.
This year, the Young Fenland Poet Laureate prize was awarded to Harriet Munson for her poem ‘Incongruous’. We were really impressed by the vivid imagery in Harriet’s poem, and the way she managed to articulate the rich history of the Fens in a poem that beautifully captures the spirit of the area.
Second place was awarded to Alex Florance for his poem ‘Play Time’ and Anna Kober took third place with her piece entitled ‘Four Seasons in a Feather’. The seven highly commended poets in this category were Joe Bunker, Sana Khan, Alice Pealling, Georgina Puttock, Rajveer Sira, Kristina Tunnard and Kenzie Whyatt.
We also gave out a special merit prize for the best non-Fenland poem, and this was awarded to Cassandra Silva for her poem ‘My Box > Your Box’.
The winner of the adult category was Jonathan Totman. Jonathan’s poem, ‘Wicken Fen’, really impressed us. We loved the subtle, deliberate pacing, and haunting sparseness of the language, all of which perfectly mirrored the wild landscape of the Fens. The poem also has a depth to it that really captured our imaginations, and this really made it stand out during the judging process.
Second prize in the adult catagory was jointly awarded to William Alderson and Miriam Brown, and David Kerridge took third place. The six highly commended poets were Josh Bone, Nigel Hilliam, Helen Pletts, Alan Irving, Martin Simmonds and Dominic O’Sullivan.
We had a fantastic turn out on the night, with almost eighty people attending. In fact, so many people wanted to see the show, that we had to split the event into two halves, in order to fit everyone in!
As you can imagine, it was a hectic, but very enjoyable evening. All of our short-listed poets performed beautifully, and it was actually really amazing to see so many people interested in, and inspired by, poetry in the Fens!
We were also really proud to welcome Councillor and Mrs Hill, the Mayor and Mayoress of Wisbech, to the Fenland Poet Laureate Awards - and the mayoral bling certainly added a touch of glamour to the proceedings!
The competition seems to be getting bigger and better each year, and this is all thanks to the hard work and diligence of organiser Elaine Ewart and Fenland Poet Laureate for 2014, Poppy Kleiser. We are also extremely grateful for the support we have received from various organisations and individuals who all come together to make this show happen!
With this in mind, we'd really like to thank the following people: David Wright, Nathan Jones, Karen Harvey, Atelier East, ADeC, the Wisbech and Fenland Museum, Lizzy Doe, Ben Brown, Pete ‘Cardinal’ Cox and Poppy Kleiser. We would also like to thank Wisbech Town Council and the Friends of Wisbech Museum for funding the awards ceremony.
Congratulations to Harriet and Jonathan, and to all of our short-listed poets for the Fenland Poet Laureate Awards 2015!
|Young Fenland Poet Laureate Finalists|
|Harriet Munson - Young FPL Winner|
|Fenland Poet Laureate Awards Finalists (Adult Category)|
|Winner Jonathan Totman collecting his award|
|Winner Jonathan Totman with the Mayor & Mayoress|
|All the Fenland Poet Laureates!|