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Talented Cheshire poets celebrate launch of annual anthology

University of Chester hosts Cheshire Prize for Literature event

The poets featured in the anthology with Dr Ian Seed (back row, next to stand on the left) and High Sheriff of Cheshire, Sarah Callander Beckett (front row)(Image: UGC)

Some of Cheshire’s most talented poets gathered at the University of Chester to see their words turned into print.

This year’s Cheshire Prize for Literature anthology launch was held at the university’s Queen’s Park campus to celebrate the publication of the 2016 competition’s best entries.

The selected poems, including those by the winners and runners-up, have been gathered together in Crossings Over, edited by Dr Ian Seed, programme leader in creative writing at the university.

Each writer was presented with a copy of the anthology by the High Sheriff of Cheshire, Sarah Callander Beckett, and Dr Seed read out the winning poem, The Cartographer’s Daughter by Cheryl Pearson, from Levenshulme, Manchester.

Dr Seed then randomly selected the names of the other poets in attendance from the vice-chancellor’s graduation cap to read their work to the audience.

About 250 people entered the competition, from the length and breadth of the country, as well as internationally, entering more than 600 poems on a wide range of different themes.

Dr Seed said: “It has been a great privilege to edit the anthology Crossings Over and an honour to work with all the poets involved. When reading this collection, it is difficult not to feel astonished by the different connections and relationships that emerge between the poems.

“Each poem stands on its own, yet as we read on (best done out loud), the different voices combine to make a kind of choral music, which lingers in the heart and mind.”

The winner and runners-up were announced by leading poet, writer and broadcaster Ian McMillan, the Bard of Barnsley, at the Cheshire Prize for Literature evening, hosted by the university in November.

Three runners-up for the Cheshire Prize each received £250. They were: Helen Kay, from Nantwich, for her poem Dad: Latin at the Village School, 1969; Joy Winkler from Macclesfield, who wrote Shakkei - Borrowed Scenery; and John Paul Davies, from County Meath in Ireland, for his poem The Darkroom.

The High Sheriff’s Cheshire Prize for Literature has been running for 13 years, having been set up in 2003 by the then High Sheriff of Cheshire, John Richards OBE, DL.

It is open to writers who were born, live, or have lived; study, or have studied; work, or have worked, in Cheshire.

Next year’s prize will be for children’s literature and the competition is now open. More details can be found at http://www.chester.ac.uk/literatureprize

Crossings Over is published by the University of Chester Press and costs £10.99.

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