Sep 16, 2022

Jackie Kay to judge International Poetry Competition

Popular and award-winning Scottish poet Jackie Kay is to be the judge of the 2023 Guernsey International Poetry Competition (Poems on the Move), organised in conjunction with the Guernsey Literary Festival.

Jackie Kay was born and brought up in Scotland. She is the author of – among other books – The Adoption Papers, which won the Forward Prize, Red Dust Road, winner of the Scottish Book of the Year Award, the novel Trumpet, and the Costa-shortlisted Fiere. She is a former Chancellor of the University of Salford and Professor of Creative Writing at Newcastle University.

From 2016 to 2021, Jackie Kay was the Makar, the poet laureate of Scotland.

The annual competition, which was launched on 15 September, is open to poets worldwide and last year attracted more than 2000 poems. The 2023 closing date is 15 January next year. The competition is this year sponsored by Specsavers and supported by Guernsey Arts.

Past judges of the competition have included Poet Laureate Simon Armitage, Kate Clanchy, Ian MacMillan, Maura Dooley, Daljit Nagra and Gwyneth Lewis.

The 2022 competition judge was Michael Symmons Roberts, Professor of Poetry at Manchester Metropolitan University, and an accomplished poet in his own right. He praised the standard of the large entry. ‘The stack of poems I read for this year’s competition had range, ambition, passion and compassion,’ he said.

Co-founder of competition sponsors Specsavers, Mary Perkins, said, ‘This is a fantastic event which Specsavers is proud to sponsor. It has been brilliant seeing the Literary Festival go from strength to strength and I hope everyone enjoys this year's edition.’

The competition is divided into three classes, Open (which carries a first prize of £1000), Channel Islands (£250) and Young Poet (£250). Last year’s competition attracted an especially high number of entries in the Young Poets’ class for under-18s and the organisers hope that this will continue for 2023. There will be prizes for first, second and third in each class and these poems and another 12 will be part of the Poems on the Move display, at Guernsey Airport and other island sites as well as on Guernsey buses.

Competition filter judge is Candy Neubert, a poetry reader for the Bridport Prize. Her last two poetry collections, Channel and Island, were partly inspired by Guernsey.

The eleventh Guernsey Literary Festival takes place from 10th – 14th May 2023 and aims to offer a varied and energetic celebration of literature with something for everyone – from aspiring writers to families looking for a fun day out.

During the 2023 Festival, there will be an International Poetry Competition Winners’ Reading on Wednesday 10th May.

Entries must be no longer than 14 lines and must fit on a single A4 page.

Full details and entry forms are available on the website or on leaflets which can be found at a number of sites in the Channel Islands. Details will also be in the UK magazine Poetry Review and a number of other national and international poetry and literary magazines and websites.