Scots poem takes the prize at McLellan poetry competition
... but winner remains a closely guarded secret
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 at www.arrantheatreandarts.co.uk/2018-programme 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.