Scots poem takes the prize at McLellan po­etry com­pe­ti­tion

... but win­ner re­mains a closely guarded se­cret

The Arran Banner - - News -

Judg­ing of this year’s en­tries for Ar­ran’s an­nual McLellan po­etry com­pe­ti­tion has now been com­pleted and for the first time the over­all win­ner of the £1,500 prize is a poem in Scots.

For­ward Prize win­ner Sinéad Mor­ris­sey picked the Scots poem from a strong field of nearly 1,400 en­tries sub­mit­ted by 750 po­ets. The Scot­tish suc­cess is no­table given the in­creas­ingly international flavour of the com­pe­ti­tion which this year at­tracted en­tries from 35 dif­fer­ent coun­ties from Aus­tralia to Swazi­land and Mon­go­lia.

Lo­cal or­gan­is­ers Cicely Gill and David Un­der­down ex­pressed de­light that the win­ning poem should have a strong Scots flavour, es­pe­cially as Robert McLellan, the Cor­rie-based writer in whose mem­ory the fes­ti­val was founded, chose to write his own work in Scots.

For the time be­ing, the iden­tity of the win­ning poet will re­main a close­ly­guarded se­cret, but all will be re­vealed on Fri­day Au­gust 31, when Sinéad vis­its Ar­ran to an­nounce the win­ners at the prize-giv­ing event in Cor­rie and San­nox Vil­lage Hall. Those of you who at­tended last year’s event will re­mem­ber it as a heart-warm­ing and stim­u­lat­ing evening in an in­ti­mate vil­lage set­ting. In the sec­ond half of the pro­gramme, af­ter a mu­si­cal in­ter­lude from Ar­ran Dawn, Sinéad will read po­ems from her own work.

Tick­ets, priced at £10, in­clud­ing wine, are avail­able on­line through Ar­ran Events or from to­day (Satur­day) at the Book and Card Cen­tre in Brod­ick.

Sinéad ad­mits that this will be her first visit to a Scot­tish is­land. The mul­ti­award win­ning poet was born in Por­ta­d­own in County Ar­magh and, af­ter spells living in New Zealand and Ja­pan, she set­tled in Belfast. Re­cently she moved to the north-east of Eng­land to be­come pro­fes­sor of cre­ative writ­ing at the Univer­sity of New­cas­tle.

She will be ar­riv­ing on Ar­ran with her hus­band, acupunc­tur­ist Joseph Pond, and their two sons, and hopes to have time to dis­cover what the is­land has to of­fer dur­ing her stay. Sinead’s fifth col­lec­tion, Par­al­lax, won the pres­ti­gious T S Eliot award and last year her lat­est book, On Bal­ance, was cho­sen as the For­ward Prize best col­lec­tion of 2017.

Sinéad will also be con­duct­ing a writ­ing work­shop in Cor­rie Hall on Satur­day September 1, en­ti­tled Spon­ta­neous Ad­ven­tures in Form, which will look at dif­fer­ent as­pects of po­etic form. There will be some po­ems to read and some ex­er­cises. The work­shop is open to all re­gard­less of ex­pe­ri­ence – though places are lim­ited.

If you are in­ter­ested, please con­tact Cicely Gill on 700464 or David Un­der­down on 810640. At £10, in­clud­ing a soup lunch, it is one of the best bar­gains of the fes­ti­val.

And this is just the be­gin­ning. An ex­cit­ing week­end awaits with nu­mer­ous ac­tiv­i­ties for peo­ple of all tastes. On Satur­day September 1, in Whit­ing Bay Hall, there will be the fa­mous fes­ti­val ceilidh, al­ways a ter­rific night, with caller Stuart Gough and live mu­sic from the Dram­busters as well as Tim Pomeroy, An­gus Adam­son and other lo­cal artists.

The fol­low­ing day, there will be a per­for­mance of sa­cred mu­sic in Cor­rie Church, by the stu­dents at­tend­ing the Ar­ran sum­mer school, and a free event in Brod­ick Li­brary with James McE­naney, who will talk about his fas­ci­nat­ing re­cre­ation of Ed­win Muir’s Tour of the Scot­tish High­lands.

There will be more news of the rest of the fes­ti­val in next week’s Ban­ner. Mean­while, full de­tails of all of the events cam be found on the fes­ti­val web­site at­ranthe­atre­an­­gramme or pick up a leaflet which are avail­able across the is­land.

Ar­ran Dawn will be per­form­ing at the po­etry event.

Judge Sinéad Mor­ris­sey will an­nounce the win­ner of the an­nual McLellan po­etry com­pe­ti­tion next Fri­day.

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