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|The Christopher Tower Poetry Prizes 2014 Press Release|
The Christopher Tower Poetry Competition 2014, the UK’s most valuable prize for young poets, opens for entries on National Poetry Day, and this year students between 16-18 years of age are challenged to write a poem on the theme of ‘News’.
Established in 2000, the Tower Prizes are recognised as among the most prestigious literary awards for this age group. The first prize is £3,000, with £1,000 and £500 going to the second and third prize-winners. In addition to individual prizes, the students’ schools and colleges also receive cash prizes of £150. Longlisted entrants’ poems are published on the Tower Poetry website.
The entries will be judged this year by poets Olivia McCannon, Kei Miller and Peter McDonald. The 2014 competition will build on the success of earlier competitions. Previous prizewinners such as Caroline Bird, Helen Mort, Richard O’Brien, Charlotte Runcie, Anna Lewis, and Annie Katchinska are now gaining further acclaim in other competitions or within the publishing/ writing world.
Notes to editors:
• Olivia McCannon was born on Merseyside and lives in Harlesden, London. Her collection Exactly My Own Length (Carcanet/Oxford Poets, 2011) was shortlisted for the Seamus Heaney Centre Prize and won the 2012 Fenton Aldeburgh First Collection Prize. She lived for nine years in France – eight years in Belleville, Paris – and her translations from French include Balzac’s Old Man Goriot (Penguin Classics, 2011), modern poetry in Poetry of Place: Paris (Eland, 2013) and contemporary plays for the Royal Court theatre in London. She also writes short fiction, lyrics and libretti.
• Kei Miller was born in Jamaica in 1978. He read English at the University of the West Indies and completed an MA in Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University. His work has appeared in The Caribbean Writer, Snow Monkey, Caribbean Beat and Obsydian III. His first collection of short fiction, The Fear of Stones, was short-listed in 2007 for the Commonwealth Writers First Book Prize. His first poetry collection, Kingdom of Empty Bellies, was published in March 2006 by Heaventree Press; his second, There Is an Anger That Moves, was published by Carcanet in October 2007. He is also the editor of Carcanet's New Caribbean Poetry: An Anthology. He has been a visiting writer at York University in Canada, the Department of Library Services in the British Virgin Islands and a Vera Ruben Fellow at Yaddo, and currently teaches Creative Writing at the University of Glasgow.
• Peter McDonald is the Christopher Tower Student and Tutor in Poetry in the English Language at Christ Church, Oxford. His publications include Louis MacNeice: The Poet in his Contexts (1991), Mistaken Identities: Poetry and Northern Ireland (1997), Pastorals (2004) and The House of Clay (2007). Torchlight was published in 2011 and his Collected Poems in 2012, both by Carcanet.
• The Christopher Tower Poetry Prizes were launched following a bequest to Christ Church which provides for the promotion of the art of writing poetry in English. The prizes aim to encourage the writing of poetry amongst young people in the 16-18 age group by establishing an annual set of prizes for the best poems on a set theme.
• The Christopher Tower Poetry Prizes 2013, on the theme of ‘The Details’ attracted hundreds of entries from young poets across the country. There were six shortlisted poets who attended a prize-giving ceremony at Christ Church in April 2013, where 17 year-old Azfa Ali of Oxford Spires Academy, Oxford was named as the overall winner with her poem 'Origins'. The winner of the second prize was the 2012 prizewinner, Sarah Fletcher (The American School in London), with 'Kraut Girl' and the third prizewinner was Erin Tunney from De Lisle Catholic Science College, Loughborough, Leicestershire with her poem 'The Devil'.
• The other short-listed winners were: Kathryn Cussons (St Paul’s Girls’ School, London) with 'Investigation Details: Echo and Narcissus', Luke van den Barselaar, longlisted in 2012 (Colyton Grammar School, Devon), with 'Research', and Eva Wallace (Strathearn School, Belfast, Northern Ireland) with 'Swimming in Loch Súilί (The Lake of Shadows)'.
• Videos and audios of all last year’s winners are on the Tower Poetry website, YouTube and iTunesU.
• 33 Longlisted poets from 2013 have agreed to have their poems published on the Tower Poetry website here.