Poet laureate's hands out prizes

POET laureate Andrew Motion has presented prizes to budding poets in Essex.He praised pupils at Tendring Technology College and Sixth Form who entered a poetry competition to mark the start of this weekend's Frinton Literary Festival, where he is top of the bill.

POET laureate Andrew Motion has presented prizes to budding poets in Essex.

He praised pupils at Tendring Technology College and Sixth Form who entered a poetry competition to mark the start of this weekend's Frinton Literary Festival, where he is top of the bill.

Mr Motion said: "It's wonderful to attend such an event. I entered and won two competitions like this one when I was at school and they both had a permission-giving quality about them which reassured me I was doing a good job."

Mr Motion became poet laureate in 1999 and is professor of creative writing at the University of East Anglia. He is also well known for his biographies on Philip Larkin and Keats.


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He said: "Competitions can be so encouraging and a good competition will pick a winning poem that fits into ordinary life rather than seeming detached and odd.

"I recognise a good poem when it surprises the reader and gives them a fresh view on the world we thought we knew."

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The literary festival organisers judged the wide range of entries and donated prizes totalling £510.

First prize winners from year groups 7-13 were presented with £20 and a £5 book token, the first runner up received £15 and a £5 book token and the second runner up received £10 and a £5 book token.

Head of English at the school, Ruth Burden said: "We are delighted with the reaction from the pupils here. There has been a real high standard of talent throughout the school and we are pleased with the amount of pupils who decided to enter.

She said that current affairs were prominent in some of the year 11 pupil's work, particularly the impact of war.

Mr Motion caused controversy last month by writing a poem against the conflict with Iraq.

He said: "Writing about current affairs can be an excellent form of expression, when a poem addresses an issue and follows a theme it can be so effective and can create a real impact upon the reader."

The Frinton Literary Festival is now in its second year.

Sarah Harrison, author of Cold Feet the novel that was made into a hit television series, will make an appearance today as will husband and wife team Sean French and Nicci Gerrard who write psychological thrillers under the name Nicci French. Their book, Killing me Softly is due to be made into a film.

Other speakers include best selling local author, Barbara Erskine and award-winning poet, Gladys Mary Coles.

One of the organisers Philomena Dwyer, said: "Last year's festival was highly successful. This year we have even more speakers, a literary lunch, the poetry competition and a new venue with splendid views over the sea."

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