Con­test will mark 300 years of Gray

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS -

BUD­DING writ­ers are be­ing in­vited to take part in an an­nual con­test held to com­mem­o­rate the life of one of Bri­tain’s best loved po­ets.

The Stoke Po­ges So­ci­ety is or­gan­is­ing its third po­etry com­pe­ti­tion in mem­ory of the 300th an­niver­sary of Thomas Gray’s birth.

Gray wrote one of his most fa­mous works, El­egy writ­ten in a Country Church­yard, af­ter be­ing in­spired by a visit to St Giles’ Church­yard in Stoke Po­ges in 1751.

The work has been recog­nised as a clas­sic of English lit­er­a­ture, and Gray was even­tu­ally buried in a tomb at the church, which was re­stored in 2013 as part of a project de­signed to mark what would have been his 300th birth­day this year.

For this year’s po­etry com­pe­ti­tion, the en­tries to the Open Class will be judged by award win­ning poet Daljit Na­gra, who last year was ap­pointed as the in­au­gu­ral Poet in Res­i­dence for BBC Ra­dio 4.

The con­test has proved to be a big suc­cess since it was launched three years ago, with en­tries com­ing from Bucks and the sur­round­ing ar­eas, as well as from across the UK.

There will also be a school class for younger en­trants, with en­tries be­ing judged by Michael Mered­ith, for­mer head of English at Eton Col­lege, where Thomas Gray was a pupil in the 18th cen­tury.

Over the years, Mr Mered­ith has been re­spon­si­ble for de­vel­op­ing Eton’s Thomas Gray col­lec­tion, and en­gag­ing stu­dents with the ori­gins of Gray’s El­egy.

Mr Na­gra en­cour­aged peo­ple to take part and said: “Gray’s El­egy is fas­ci­nat­ing for the way it opens por­tals for imag­i­na­tive free­dom.

“En­trants should feel in­spired to see the mod­ern world anew by the range of the many-an­gled quo­ta­tion.”

Prizes to­talling £750 will be di­vided among the win­ning en­trants.

En­tries can be made on­line via the web­site

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