This year’s competition was for poetry, with approximately 250 people, from the length and breadth of the country, as well as internationally, entering over 600 poems on a wide range of different themes.
The first prize of £2,000 was presented to Cheryl Pearson, from Levenshulme, Manchester, for her poem The Cartographer’s Daughter. She is also celebrating having just had her first book accepted for publication.
Cheryl, who had her winning entry read out by Ian McMillan, said: “It feels fabulous to win and was very unexpected. I knew there would be so many amazing entries and I came to see Ian McMillan more than anything! I feel overwhelmed at the moment.”
Ian presents The Verb on BBC Radio 3 every Friday night; has written poems, plays, a verse autobiography Talking Myself Home and a voyage round Yorkshire in Neither Nowt Nor Summat. His most recent publication is To Fold the Evening Star: New and Selected Poems and was published this year by Carcanet Press.
Ian has also been a commentator and programme maker for over 30 years. He has explored language and communication with students, teachers, policy makers, local authority officers, politicians and business communities.
Ian is Poet-in-Residence for The Academy of Urbanism, Barnsley FC and now Barnsley Poet Laureate. As well as presenting The Verb every week, he is a regular on BBC Breakfast, Coast, Countryfile, Pointless Celebrities, Pick of the Week, Last Word and BBC Proms Plus. He has been a castaway on Desert Island Discs.
Previously, he was resident poet for English National Opera, UK Trade and Investment, Yorkshire TV’s Investigative Poet and Humberside Police’s Beat Poet.
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.
As well as cash prizes, the winning entries and a selection of other submissions will be included in an anthology produced by the University of Chester Press next spring.
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, in discussion with the current High Sheriff, Kathy Cowell. It is open to writers who were born, live, or have lived; study, or have studied; work, or have worked, in Cheshire.
Competition judge Dr Ian Seed, a lecturer in creative writing, and programme leader for the BA in creative writing, said: “There was a rich variety of themes, styles and forms.
“The judging panel admired the fact that some of the entrants were prepared to take risks with language and form. The entry level was very high indeed, the poetry was a pleasure to read, and making our short list was by no means an easy task!”
Next year’s Prize will be for children’s literature and the competition will open in January. More details will be available at http://www.chester.ac.uk/literatureprize