The 2020 Guernsey Literary Festival has been cancelled. Full story


May 10, 2019

Special presentation for poetry competition winners

A number of winners from the Guernsey International Poetry Competition, organised as part of the Guernsey Literary Festival, were in the island for a special presentation and reading of their work during the Festival.

A poem by Sharon Black, who lives in France, scooped the £1000 first prize in the open section. Her entry, Passing it On, was chosen from among an unusually large field of published UK poets this year. But entrants also 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..

Acclaimed poet Maura Dooley, this year’s judge,paid tribute to the ‘rich and varied poems in this competition’.

‘This competition is unusual, perhaps unique,’ she said, ‘in asking for poems of a maximum of 14 lines. It made me reflect on the great skill needed to make something memorable in so few lines. There is no room for harrumphing or wittering on.’

The highest placed Guernsey writer was Susie Gallienne, with her poem Technical Advance.

The poets read their work and London poet Holly Hopkins, who finished third in the Open section, also read the winner for Sharon Black, who couldn’t be at the event. Holly’s debut pamphlet, Soon Every House Will Have One, wonthe 2014 Poetry Business Pamphlet Competition and Poetry Book Society Pamphlet Choice. Holly has received an Eric Gregory Award (2011) and a Hawthornden Fellowship (2016).

Boley Smillie of sponsors Guernsey Post said, ‘We are very proud to have been involved with the Guernsey Festival for two years now and we are delighted to extend our sponsorship for another year. This competition brings in creative talent from all over the world, and this can only help and inspire the island’s own talent.’

All the winners in the competition will have their poems displayed as part of Poems on the Move on some Guernsey buses, at the airport, and in Aurigny aircraft.


Guernsey’s International Poetry Competition 2019

List of Winning Poems


1, PASSING IT ON, Sharon Black, France; 2,  JACOB, Chris Hardy, London; 3, WHEN I FOUND SOME WOMEN WITH BELLIES, Holly Hopkins, Manchester.


1, SMALL WORLDS, Judy Mantle, Jersey; 2, LETTING GO, Juliette Hart, Jersey; 3, TECHNICAL ADVANCE, Susie Gallienne, Guernsey


1, REFLECTIONS, E Wen Wong, New Zealand; 2, TRAVELS ACROSS TIME, E Wen Wong, New Zealand.


(13 poems listed alphabeticallyby poet's surname)

EVERY TIME I CAME HOME,Alison Binney, Cambridge

STORM IN A TEACUP, Alison Binney, Cambridge

THE GUN WAS ONE THING, Carole Bromley, North Yorkshire

DREAMTIME, Christina Buckton, Cambridge

1960, Valerie Darville, London

BARN, Ian Enters, Somerset

BULL MALE, SLEEPING, Abigail Ottley, Cornwall

STILL, Jane Pearn, Scottish Borders

TABLE, WINDOW, Simon Richey, London

SHIPWRECKED, David Smith, Derbyshire

LISTEN, Peter Wallis, Norfolk

BLACKBERRIES, Richard Westcott, Devon


Winners who made the journey to Guernsey for the Guernsey International Poetry Competition presentation and reading, organised as part of the 2019 Guernsey Literary Festival. Left to right: Valerie Darville, Christina Buckton, Alison Binney, Jane Pearn, Juliette Hart, Simon Richey, Boley Smillie of event sponsors Guernsey Post, David Smith, Susie Gallienne and Holly Hopkins. 



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