Brighton Festival Young Poets’ Winning Words

Posted On 30 May 2018 at 4:31 pm

Peacock Poetry Prize winners announced

The winners of the Peacock Poetry Prize 2018 – an annual creative writing competition produced by Brighton Festival and Brighton, Hove & Sussex Sixth Form College (BHASVIC) and supported by – have been announced.

The eight finalists were chosen from 100 entries – a record number for the competition – which this year had the theme of ‘hard work’, a subject inspired by Brighton Festival 2018 Guest Director David Shrigley’s book of the same title

Submissions were divided into three age groups – those writers aged between 11-13 years, 14-16 years 13-16 years and 17-19 years.

‘Working with Words’ by George Linehan won the 11-13 years category, ‘Alzheimer’s’ by Lottie Erratt-Rose won the 14-16 category, and ‘The Farrier’ by Amelie Maurice-Jones won the 17-19 age category.

The rest of the finalists were as follows: Yasmine Conway, Cole Hodler, Lillia Hudson-Amatt , Sylvie Goodwin and Christopher Clay.

Each finalist received a cup featuring designs by Guest Director David Shrigley.

The Peacock Poetry Prize aims to encourage young writers to explore the written word from a creative point of view. Each year encourages them to write on a different theme, with this year being ‘hard work’. Whether completing an assignment, building a relationship or breaking a habit, we all work hard on aspects of our daily lives. Each finalist submitted up to three poems with a maximum length of 20 lines per poem.

Pippa Smith, Brighton Festival’s Children and Family Producer, says: “The Peacock Poetry Prize offers a great opportunity for young people to have their writing seriously appraised and appreciated. Our panel of judges reads and discusses every poem and it is always a struggle to decide which of our many talented entrants will be invited to the finalists’ award party. We are thrilled that so many young people in Brighton and Hove are Writing poetry. The standard of entries remains high, once more, showing a real love of language, and composition that is truly astonishing and a maturity even from our youngest entrants

William Baldwin, Principal of Brighton Hove & Sussex Sixth Form College, says: “BHASVIC is proud to have sponsored the Peacock Poetry Prize. Poetry is imaginations language, helping us understand and appreciate the world around us. A great poem can describe what we ourselves have no words for. As poetry is such a universal vehicle of human expression it is vital that we continue to nurture a love for it in the younger generation.”

Kat Head, Guest Judge of the competition: “Discovering what the next generation of poets have to say about ‘Hard Work’ was an experience that ignited me. The emotional maturity of the poems is striking, and shows the scope and individuality of Brighton’s up and coming writers.”

Entries were judged by our panel of experts, led by Kat Head, and prizes were awarded to the winners in each category at the ceremony at Brighton Dome Founders Room on Wednesday 23 May.

Winner, 17-19 Category: The Farrier, by Amelie Maurice-Jones

The Farrier

it’s an old and vaulted rhythm.

you’ve heard the story: man meets his enemy in animal

form. more muscle than all sea; a fur-coat that shackles

lust under bristle. strange baker really, and an odd

stove that hones toenails for a living. he is calloused with

sweat. he is him and hollowed

for a man.heaves in,

heaves out. indeed the frothy hot-spit of each horseshoe buckles

out a c, would-be swan and

outside, swan-clouds feed in, automatically cracked

by the sting of reddish dry. nasty surprise. the perpetual

striving of hooves and road-dust. others, abstract

a fortune for good luck.

this is how grief works.

‘Working with Words’ by George Linehan won the 11-13 years category:

Working with Words

I sit and contemplate my words,

And draw a blank.

Given a million, I can’t seem to put two together;

The sheer impossibility of stitching syllables stumps me.

A spark of an idea ignites my page,

getting hotter and more complex,

Then burns out just as quickly.

Yet, as I begin to abandon my task,

An idea leaps into my mind,

Regurgitating itself onto my page:

The mountain shrinks.

Ink glides from my pen as a skater on ice;

Brain and page become synonymous.

No harder task than sharing yourself in words: no greater joy than being read.

‘Alzheimer’s’ by Lottie Erratt-Rose won the 14-16 category:


What day is it, did I say that, when was that?

I don’t remember!

Confusion fills your body,

Like someone has grabbed you

And tossed you upside down and round and round and-

Who grabbed me? What…

Panic enters, smiling cruelly.

It walks up to you and squeezes you tight.

It won’t let you go.

But you push, and somehow, for a second, focus, and… it’s gone.

You’ve won, but-

What day is it, did I say that, when was that?

I don’t remember…

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