The 2020 Guernsey Literary Festival has been cancelled. Full story


Mar 26, 2019

The Guernsey International Poetry Competition - Winners Announced

A poem by Sharon Black, who lives in France, has scooped the £1000 first prize in the open section of the Guernsey International Poetry Competition, organised as part of the 2019 Guernsey Literary Festival. The competition was split into three sections, Open, Channel Islands and Young People.

Sharon Black’s winning entry, Passing it On, was chosen first among an unusually large field of published UK poets this year 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.

Originally from Glasgow, Sharon Black now lives in a remote part of the Cévennes mountains of France where she and her husband run a retreat and organize themed events that include writing retreats. Her work has been published and she has won a number of leading competitions, including The London Magazine Poetry Prize 2018 and the Cheltenham Poetry Festival Competition 2017. She is editor and publisher of Pindrop Press.

Poetry competition judge Maura Dooley, an acclaimed poet in her own right, who is coming to the Festival in May to present the prizes, lead a workshop and read her own work,  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.’

Passing it On and the other winning poems ‘caught my attention in a turn of phrase, a startling image, or a sharp observation. Often moving, sometimes funny, clever, wise and always generally engaging, these poems considered the world in which we live but usually viewed the political through the personal.

‘ I read of joy and of loss, of ageing and of new life beginning, some fine, detailed descriptions of landscape, some wry character studies and many good poems which defied easy categorisation.’

Second prize in the Open Section (£500) went to Chris Hardy from London and third prize (£250) to Manchester poet Holly Hopkins.

The first two prizes in the Channel Island section of the competition went to Jersey writers Judy Mantle and Juliette Hart, and Susie Gallienne was the first Guernsey poet, in third place. 

In the young people’s category, first and second went to the talented E Wen Wong from New Zealand.

Maura Dooley has had her latest collection of poetry, The Silvering, published by Bloodaxe. She was poet-in-residence at the Jane Austen House Museum in Chawton and poems from this residency are published as A Quire of Paper. Dooley’s work has been shortlisted for the T S Eliot Prize and the Forward Prize. She is a Fellow of The Royal Society of Literature and teaches at Goldsmith’s, University of London.

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.

Boley Smillie, Chief Executive of sponsors Guernsey Post, says, ‘This competition brings in creative talent from all over the world, and this can only help and inspire the island’s own talent. We’re delighted to play our part.’

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 alphabetically by 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


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