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Christopher Tower Poetry Competition 2014

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The closing date for entries is Friday 28 February, 2014. The winners will be announced on Thursday 24 April 2014.

The Christopher Tower Poetry Competition, the UK’s most valuable prize for young poets, opened for entries on National Poetry Day, and this year students between 16-18 years of age are challenged to write a poem on the theme of ‘News’.

Established in 2000, the Tower Prizes are recognised as among the most prestigious literary awards for this age group. The first prize is £3,000, with £1,000 and £500 going to the second and third prize-winners. In addition to individual prizes, the students’ schools and colleges also receive cash prizes of £150. Longlisted entrants’ poems are published on the Tower Poetry website.

The entries will be judged this year by poets Olivia McCannon, Kei Miller and Peter McDonald. The 2014 competition will build on the success of earlier competitions.  Previous prizewinners such as Caroline Bird, Helen Mort, Richard O’Brien, Charlotte Runcie, Anna Lewis, and Annie Katchinska are now gaining further acclaim in other competitions or within the publishing/ writing world.

Olivia McCannon was born on Merseyside and lives in Harlesden, London. Her Olivia
collection Exactly My Own Length (Carcanet/Oxford Poets, 2011) was
shortlisted for the Seamus Heaney Centre Prize and won the 2012 Fenton Aldeburgh
First Collection Prize. She lived for nine years in France – eight years in
Belleville, Paris – and her translations from French include Balzac’s Old
Man Goriot
(Penguin Classics, 2011), modern poetry in Poetry of Place:
Paris
(Eland, 2013) and contemporary plays for the Royal Court theatre in
London. She also writes short fiction, lyrics and libretti.

Kei Miller was born in Jamaica in 1978. He read English at the University of the West Indies and completed an MA in Creative Writing at KeiManchester Metropolitan University. His work has appeared in The Caribbean Writer, Snow Monkey, Caribbean Beat and Obsydian III. His first collection of short fiction, The Fear of Stones, was short-listed in 2007 for the Commonwealth Writers First Book Prize. His first poetry collection, Kingdom of Empty Bellies, was published in March 2006 by Heaventree Press; his second, There Is an Anger That Moves, was published by Carcanet in October 2007. He is also the editor of Carcanet’s New Caribbean Poetry: An Anthology. He has been a visiting writer at York University in Canada, the Department of Library Services in the British Virgin Islands and a Vera Ruben Fellow at Yaddo, and currently teaches Creative Writing at the University of Glasgow.

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Peter McDonald is the Christopher Tower Student and Tutor in Poetry in the English Language at Christ Church, Oxford.  His publications include Peter_McDonald_smileLouis MacNeice: The Poet in his Contexts (1991), Mistaken Identities: Poetry and Northern Ireland (1997), Pastorals (2004) and The House of Clay (2007).  Torchlight was published in 2011 and his Collected Poems in 2012, both by Carcanet.

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imagesCAXLLD92The competition is open to all 16-18 year-olds who are in full or part time education in the UK, and students and schools can find out more information about the prizes and associated future events at www.towerpoetry.org.uk/prize,  or email info@towerpoetry.org.uk or call 01865 286591. Follow the competition on Facebook, or @TowerPoetry on Twitter or YouTube.

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The Christopher Tower Poetry Prize 2013 – closing date March 1st

tower-details

The Christopher Tower Poetry Competition, the UK’s most valuable prize for young poets, is once again open for entries, and this year students between 16-18 years of age are challenged to write a poem on the theme of ‘The Details’.

Established in 2000, the Tower Prizes are recognised as among the most prestigious literary awards for this age group. The first prize is £3,000, with £1,000 and £500 going to the second and third prize-winners. In addition to individual prizes, the students’ schools and colleges also receive cash prizes.

The entries will be judged this year by poets Bernard O’Donoghue, Carrie Etter and Peter McDonald. At the launch of the latest competition, Carrie Etter said: “I expect ‘The Details” to be a wonderfully fruitful topic. After all, one of the great pleasures of poetry lies in the perfectly precise or unexpected detail. I look forward to such encounters among the submissions.”

The 2013 competition will build on the success of earlier competitions. Previous prizewinners such as Caroline Bird, Helen Mort, Richard O’Brien, Charlotte Runcie, Anna Lewis and Annie Katchinska are now gaining further acclaim in other competitions or within the publishing/ writing world.

The competition is open to all 16-18 year-olds who are in full or part time education, and students and schools can find out more information about the prizes and associated future events at www.towerpoetry.org.uk/prize, or email info@towerpoetry.org.uk or call 01865 286591. Follow us on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/Tower-Poetry/101808106554586?ref=hl or @TowerPoetry on Twitter or YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/christophertower1 . The closing date for entries is Friday 1 March, 2013

Notes to editors:

  • Bernard O’Donoghue is a noted contemporary Irish poet and academic. Born in Cullen, County Cork, Ireland in 1945, he moved to Manchester, England when he was 16, where he attended St Bede’s College. He has lived in Oxford, England since 1965. O’Donoghue is currently fellow and tutor in Old English and Medieval English, Linguistics and the History of the English Language at Wadham College, Oxford University. He was previously Reader at Magdalen College, Oxford, and was a colleague of John Fuller and David Norbrook. He supports Manchester City Football Club. In 2006, Penguin Books published O’Donoghue’s new translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. O’Donoghue has a wide range of specialities. He has written on courtly love, Thomas Hoccleve and Seamus Heaney. His published poetry collections include Poaching Rights (1987), The Absent Signifier (1990), The Weakness (1991), Gunpowder (1995, which won the Whitbread Prize for Poetry), and Here Nor There (1999), Poaching Rights (1999) and Outliving (2003).
  • Originally from Normal, Illinois, Carrie Etter obtained her MFA in creative writing and PhD in English from the University of California, Irvine. Since 2001 she has lived in England, where she is Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) of Creative Writing at Bath Spa University. Her poems have appeared in The Iowa Review, The New Republic, Poetry Review, Stand, TLS, and numerous other journals and anthologies. She has published two collections, The Tethers (Seren, 2009), winner of the London New Poetry Award 2010 for the best first collection published in the UK and Ireland in the preceding year, and Divining for Starters (Shearsman, 2011); she also edited Infinite Difference: Other Poetries by UK Women Poets (Shearsman, 2010). She reviews contemporary poetry for The Guardian and has blogged since 2005 at carrieetter.blogspot.com.
  • Peter McDonald is the Christopher Tower Student and Tutor in Poetry in the English Language at Christ Church, Oxford. His publications include Louis MacNeice: The Poet in his Contexts (1991), Mistaken Identities: Poetry and Northern Ireland (1997), Pastorals (2004) and The House of Clay (2007). His latest volume of poetry Torchlight was published by Carcanet in February 2011.
  • The Christopher Tower Poetry Prizes were launched following a bequest to Christ Church which provides for the promotion of the art of writing poetry in English. The prizes aim to encourage the writing of poetry amongst young people in the 16-18 age group by establishing an annual set of prizes for the best poems on a set theme.
  • The Christopher Tower Poetry Prizes 2012, on the theme of ‘Voyages’ attracted hundreds of entries from young poets across the country. There were six shortlisted poets who attended a prize-giving ceremony at Christ Church in April 2012, where 17 year-old Sarah Fletcher of The American School in London was named as the overall winner with her poem Papa’s Epilogue. The winner of the second prize was Bethan Smith (South Essex College, Southend-on-Sea) with Balloon-song and the third prizewinner was Millie Guille from St Bartholomew’s School, Newbury, Berkshire with her poem Maiden Voyage. 
  • The other short-listed winners were: Hannah Tran (Dalriada Gramar School, Ballymoney, Co.Antrim) with The Sirens Tell their Tale, Lucy Hely-Hutchinson (Benenden School, Cranbrook, Kent) with Postcards, and Jack Whitehead (Wells Cathedral School, Somerset) with The Water Boatman from Veules-Les-Roses. 
  • 31 Longlisted poets from 2012 have agreed to have their poems published on the Tower Poetry website at http://www.towerpoetry.org.uk/prize/longlisted-poems-2012

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Lucy Hely-Hutchinson: Featured Poet

Postcards

Dear tomorrow,

please let him remember me
through Menorca summers
and Shanghai dreaming,
knowing I used
each bruise and bite-
mark to prove him.

I traced leather blanes
of his jacket
and smelt his
grey shirt to sleep –
texture and scent
cradled me.

Spain now follows me;
Feliz Navidad, paella
and Real Madrid.
It’s like the nation
found, grasped,
lost me.

Wherever you are,
I’ll measure the distance;
between pillows and continents.

Tomorrow, please
bring March quickly.

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Lucy Hely-Hutchinson is currently studying in the Sixth Form at Benenden School and is a long-time member of Poetry Club. She is the 2011-2012 School Poet Laureate and has poems published in Agenda Broadsheet, Grey Area (a newsletter created by the student body)and A Piece of Cake. She was shortlisted for 2012 Christopher Tower Poetry Award with her poem Postcards, the title poem of her short collection performed at the school Literary Concert. She recently read at the Agenda poetry evening in Mayfield.