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Sep 16, 2019

Simon Armitage to judge Guernsey competition

UK Poet Laureate Simon Armitage will judge the entries in the 2020 Guernsey International Poetry Competition (Poems on the Move), organised by the Guernsey Literary Festival. 

Attracting Simon Armitage, who was appointed Poet Laureate in succession to Carol Ann Duffy this year, is a major coup for the Festival and for the competition, which attracts entries from all over the world. It will mean that no fewer than three Poets Laureate have spoken at the Guernsey Literary Festival, Armitage, Duffy and Andrew Motion.

The competition, which has a £1,000 first prize for the winning poem in the open section, was launched on 15 September and is sponsored by Guernsey Post.

In addition to judging the competition, Simon Armitage will come to Guernsey for the Festival, which runs from 29 April to 3 May next year, for the presentation to the winners and then to give a performance of his own work.

 Simon Armitage was Oxford Professor of Poetry (2015-2019) and his numerous accolades include an Ivor Novello Award for song-writing in the BAFTA-winning film Feltham Sings and the 2018 Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry. He has published 28 collections of poetry, including his latest, Sandettie Light Vessel Automatic, and his acclaimed translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. His work is well known to a generation of UK GCSE and A level students. 

Simon’s next poem will premiere this month (SEPT) as part of Landscapes for Life Week, which this year celebrates the 70th anniversary of the 1949 National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act which paved the way for the legislation to create the UK’s 46 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). He also writes extensively for television and radio, and is the author of two novels and the non-fiction bestsellers All Points North, Walking Home and Walking Away. His theatre works include The Last Days of Troy, performed at Shakespeare's Globe in 2014. He was appointed Professor of Poetry at Leeds University in 2017. 

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

A poem by Sharon Black, who lives in France, scooped the £1000 first prize in the open section of the 2019 Competition. Her winning entry, Passing it On, was chosen first among an unusually large field of published UK poets, but entrants came from as far afield as Australia and New Zealand, India, the USA, Hong Kong and Tunisia and Singapore, as well as closer to home, the UK, Ireland, France, Spain and, of course, the Channel Islands.

As in past years, the competition is split into three categories, Open (18 and over), Channel Islands residents (18 and over) and Young People (aged 12-17). It is hoped this year to expand the entry numbers from young writers, especially those from Guernsey.

Boley Smillie, Chief Executive of Guernsey Post said “We are proud to be sponsoring Guernsey’s International Poetry Competition for the third year running.  The competition is a respected part of the literary festival and is a brilliant opportunity for everyone to take part.”

Poems from each class will be chosen for display on local buses and winners will be part of a display first at the Airport and then all over the island. 

There is a maximum length of 14 lines for individual poems and entries will close on 15 January 2020. Full details and entry forms are available on the Guernsey Literary Festival website, www.guernseyliteraryfestival.com, or the website www.poemsonthemove.com or on leaflets which can be found at a number of sites in the Channel Islands, including libraries, Beau Sejour, The Airport, and Guernsey Museum at Candie. Details will also be in the UK magazine Poetry Review and a number of other poetry and literary magazines.

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