Press release: 20 Feb 2006
Young Welsh Poet Claims Major Poetry Prize

Wales has a long, historical reputation for poetry and its poetic reputation for the future looks set to continue as young Welsh poet Haf Davies receives her prize, as one of The Foyle Young Poets of Year Award 2005, on Monday 27 March 2006.

As one of five overall winners of the Foyle Young Poets Award in the 11-14 ranges, Haf and her classmates at Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Plasmawr in Cardiff will be visited by leading Welsh poet Robert Minhinnick who will work with the students to help inspire and develop their poetic skills.

Teacher Rhodri Jones at the school said, "The opportunity for pupils to meet a renowned Welsh writer is immeasurable. More than an opportunity to improve writing skills or tick off a box on the curriculum, it is an opportunity to inspire young people to express themselves, find their voice and enjoy the work of others at a time when reading and writing are being forgotten."

Haf Davies was only 11 years old when she wrote her poem 'Beans, Babes?' Award co-ordinator Andrew Bailey wasn't surprised to see Haf's poem on the list of winners - but he was surprised to discover she was only 11 (making her one of the youngest winners of the award) and that English is her second language (after Welsh). Poetry runs in the family. Haf's father is poet Grahame Davies, published by Seren.

The Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award is Britain's most prestigious poetry prize for young writers between the age of 11-17 and offers an amazing selection of prizes including a place for 15 winners in the 15-17 year old category on a week long residential course at the Arvon Centre in Lumb Bank, and a visit to their school by a leading poet for five winners in the 11-14 category. Visit www.foyleyoungpoets.org for further details of the prize.

-ENDS-

 

The Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award is made possible by the Foyle Foundation.

Notes to editors

  • Robert Minhinnick, born near Neath in 1952, has published poetry and two collections of essays.His book of essays on the Welsh environment, Watching the Fire Eater, was Welsh Book of the Year in 1993. He has received an Eric Gregory Award for his poetry, a John Morgan Award for his prose work and two Arts Council of Wales Literature Prizes. In 1998 he received a Cholomondeley Award. He founded Friends of the Earth Cymru (Wales) in 1984 and has worked as a writer in residence in Canada, travelling back there regularly to give readings. He is currently editor of Poetry Wales and his most recent collection of essays was Badlands (Seren, 1996). Selected Poems was Robert Minhinnick's first title to be published by Carcanet, followed by After The Hurricane in 2002.
  • For a copy of the entry form, write to Education, Poetry Society, 22 Betterton Street, London WC2H 9BX, email [email protected], or visit www.foyleyoungpoets.org.
  • To receive a free copy of the 2005 winners anthology When the Thunder Woke Me send an A5 self addressed envelope to Education, Poetry Society, 22 Betterton Street, London WC2H 9BX or email [email protected].
  • The Foyle Young Poets Award meets two of the Foyle Foundation's core criteria for support in Arts and Learning and in particular encourages creativity and literacy among young people at school. These are key success factors for young people to go through life. The Foundation is very keen to work with the Poetry Society to build on what has been achieved so far and to encourage more schools and young poets to become involved with the scheme nationwide.
  • The connection between Foyle and support for poets is long-standing. In 1949 William Foyle established the Foyle Prize for Poetry, awarding an annual prize of £250 – the largest prize then offered exclusively to poets. The first judges included Cecil Day Lewis and the first winner was Edwin Muir for 'The Labyrinth'. At the award ceremony William Foyle said, 'For a long time I have always felt that a person who writes poetry should have far more encouragement ... it has always been my life's ambition to award such a prize.'
  • To find out more about the Poetry Society telephone 020 7420 9880 or visit www.poetrysociety.org.uk.

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