Contest will mark 300 years of Gray
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 www.thomasgray2016.org.