Annual poetry competition launched in honour of Shields Gazette journalist Terry Kelly

Young writers are being urged to put pen to paper for the fourth annual Terry Kelly Poetry Prize.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 07 November, 2018, 05:00
Tom Kelly, Alistair Robinson, Bo Buglass - winner of the Terry Kelly Poetry Prize 2018 for secondary pupils - and family. Photo by Billy Amann.

The competition, run by the learning and participation team at The Customs House, South Shields, was set up in memory of respected writer and former Shields Gazette journalist Terry Kelly, who died in 2016, aged 57.

The Kelly family wanted to celebrate his life and love of poetry by encouraging young people from across the region to write their own poems.

Terry Kelly.

There are three age categories – primary, secondary and 17 to 25 – and shortlisted entries will be included in an anthology.

The judges for 2019 are Terry’s brother, poet and playwright Tom Kelly, Alistair Robinson, poet and senior lecturer in journalism at Sunderland University and Sheila Wakefield, founder/editor of Red Squirrel Press.

Previous Terry Kelly Poetry Prize winner Lauren Aspery, who won the over-16s category in 2018, also joins the panel.

Lauren said: “It an absolute honour to be involved in the Terry Kelly Poetry Prize. It has also been a big eye opener for me in terms of knowing my writing can go somewhere and does something for other people.”

Entrants need to submit one original poem, give it a title and e-mail it to elizabeth@customshouse.co.uk before the closing date of Friday, April 26, 2019.

Include your name, age, postcode and if you are still at school, college or university, the name of your place of study and year group.

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If you are under 16, include the name of your parent/guardian and their e-mail address.

Entrants should also indicate whether they’d be happy to read their poem on stage.

Elizabeth Kane, learning officer at The Customs House, said: “Last year we had nearly 50 young poets shortlisted from the whole of the north east take part.

“We had children from our local primary schools and poems from students at Sunderland, Newcastle and Northumbria universities.”

Shortlisted entrants will receive an invite to the prize-giving ceremony on Wednesday, May 29, 2019, at 7pm, at The Customs House.

The event is part of the theatre’s annual Takeover Youth Arts Festival, which runs from May 27 to 31, 2019.

Winners will receive a certificate, a small cash prize and a joint recording session.