The winner of the Canterbury Festival Poet of the Year 2011 has been announced at a celebration evening at the wonderful Dominican Priory in Canterbury on Thursday 6 October 2011. The evening was attended by the short listed and long listed poets and their guests. We were also delighted to have the new Canterbury Laureate, Sarah Salway, in attendance and past Laureate, Patricia Debney.
Local poet, Marilyn Donovan took the top prize for her memorable poem, Mapping a Kingfisher and she was awarded a crate of wine and a book token from the sponsor Waterstone's.
Second prize was awarded to Gillian Laker for Off-Shore Breezes, and Isabella Devani won third prize for To My Ex-Husband. Each received a Waterstone's voucher.
The high standard of readings on the night, posed a dilemma for the judges and, in a break with tradition, they decided to award two prizes for the Best Read on the night. A bottle of champagne went to Derek Sellen for his moving poem, The Mushroom Pickers and Felicity Ann Cowie received a runner up prize of a bottle of wine for her reading of My knitting is knitting itself - which she accompanied with props of knitting needles and wool!
The judges for the evening were local poet, Maggie Harris and Moyra Tourlamain, Canterbury Festival Poet of the Year 2010. The evening was compered by Nick Hunt of the Canterbury Festival Friends, who founded the event in 2007. Nick spoke of the difficult task the judges had because of the very high standard of the poetry, which seems to improve year after year.
The poetry readings by the shortlisted poets and by the judges, were interspersed with musical delights from Richard Navarro, talented local singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist from Canterbury.
Over 150 entries were submitted for this year's competition. Thirty-nine poems made the judges' long-list and have been included in a poetry booklet. Priced at £3, it is available from the Canterbury Festival Office, 8 Orange Street, Canterbury.