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Young Poet Laureate competition opens

A light blue and purple text graphic titled Young Poet Laureate 2021. Published Thursday, 4th February 2021

Worcestershire's annual poetry competition has opened, inviting anyone aged 8 – 18 years to take part.

Children and young people from across the county are invited to take part in the poetry competition by submitting two examples of their work.  

Submissions will be judged in three age categories: 8 – 11, 12 – 15 and 16 – 18, with one winner from each.

And of these three finalists, one young person will be awarded the title of Young Poet Laureate 2021.

The annual competition is run jointly by Worcestershire County Council’s Libraries Service and Severn Arts.

Participants this year to submit one poem based on the theme ‘adventure’ and a second about anything at all.

For those new to writing or looking for tips and inspiration, Worcestershire Libraries have teamed up with Poetry on Loan to provide free online workshops in February and March.

The workshops will be led by local professional poets Justin Coe, Emma Purshouse and Steve Pottinger, who will be encouraging participants to enter the competition.

The winner of the Young Poet Laureate title will take part in commissioning opportunities, mentoring, creative residencies and various platforms to perform and talk about their work as well as having their winning poems published online and in print.

The other two finalists will receive a certificate, £25 voucher and have one of their poems published online and in print.

Laura Worsfold, Severn Arts CEO said: “We are delighted to be launching our annual poetry competition and are looking forward to receiving lots of entries! The competition celebrates talented young writers living or attending school in Worcestershire and comes with lots of incentives to take part. Our new Young Poet Laureate can expect an incredible year and all our finalists will be given the opportunity to not only perform their work but to have it published. We will be encouraging schools and community groups, parents. grandparents and friends to persuade children and young people to take part. You don’t have to be a polished poet or an English expert, we encourage submissions via written, spoken and performed word; anyone can enter.”

Ellie Dart, Young Poet Laureate 2020 said: “Becoming Worcestershire’s Young Poet Laureate has been the most amazing experience. I have seen my poems published on the page, had the opportunity to write spoken word pieces for powerful projects and gained confidence from all the interviews I have done as a result. Winning this competition has brought me so much and I highly encourage every young poet in the county to enter.”

Councillor Lucy Hodgson, cabinet member for Communities, Worcestershire County Council commented: “It is more important than ever to provide creative opportunities for young people across Worcestershire to express themselves. Worcestershire’s Young Poet Laureate competition enables those aged 8-18 to explore creative writing and performance and share their love of poetry with others. We’ve seen some brilliant talent emerge in previous years and I can’t wait to see the standard of entries this year. The free online poetry workshops provided by Worcestershire Libraries and Poetry on Loan will hopefully inspire and encourage even more budding poets to take part!”

The deadline for applications is Sunday 28 March 2021. The online final will take place on Sunday 25 April 2021. For more information and to apply, please visit the Young Poet Laureate pages of the County Council website