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International poetry competition success for Paston College student

7th November 2018

Sixteen-year-old Paston College student, Mathilda Armiger, has been announced as one of the 15 winners in this year’s Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award.  Mathilda’s award-winning poem, Lobster Shift, will now be published in an anthology from The Poetry Society.

The 2018 competition attracted nearly 11,000 poems from nearly 6,000 poets from around the world. Writers from 83 countries entered the competition, including Armenia, Botswana, Cambodia, Eritrea, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Uruguay.

This is not the first time Mathilda has made an impression in this prestigious competition.  In 2017 she entered a poem which was one of 85 commended entries.  The A Level student, from Aylsham, had her 2018 success recognised at a prize-giving ceremony at the Southbank Centre, Royal Festival Hall, London.

Mathilda joined the other 14 award-winning young poets in reading out their poems at the award ceremony.  The winners’ poems are set to reach a large audience, as the resulting anthology will be distributed to schools throughout the UK.

All of the winners will receive support from the Poetry Society to develop their talents further, through a week-long residential with competition judges Daljit Nagra (BBC Radio 4’s Poet in Residence and a Foyle judge in 2008 and 2018) and Caroline Bird (a 2018 judge and Foyle winner in 1999 and 2000).   

Commenting on her success, Mathilda said:

“After being commended last year, I really wanted to make the top 15.  It was amazing when I found out that I had achieved it this year, it was very affirming. 

“I have been writing since I was little, but only really taken it seriously over the last few years.  I will look to write poetry more seriously, now that this has happened.  I am looking forward to learning from the judges at the residential. I hope this will allow me to become more self-critical, to learn more about how I work, and to then translate this into my poetry.”

Poet Caroline Bird, one of the Foyle Young Poet of the Year judges, commented:

“The poems that embedded themselves in my mind were those with a strong, original idea. They jumped out because they felt new and vivid; cinematic and alive, like they weren’t documented on the page they were occurring on the page.”

Held annually since 1998, the Foyle Awards is one of the largest literary competitions in the world and a defining award for young poets, in some cases kick-starting the careers of some of today’s most exciting voices in poetry.

Click here for more information about the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award 2018, and to read all this year’s award-winning poems.