To celebrate Poetry Month, the fifth annual Funeral Services Northern Ireland national poetry competition has launched with a prize fund of £800.
The theme of this year’s competition ‘Messages’ is linked to National Poetry Day which will be held on 6 October 2016 and the prize fund of £800 will be split between published and unpublished poets.
Speaking at the launch, Paul Maddern, Chair of the Judges and award winning published poet, said: “This is a tremendous initiative which gives poets across Northern Ireland the opportunity to celebrate their work and engage with other poets in a very unique way. I have been involved since the inaugural competition and I’m proud to see how the competition has grown. At my own father’s funeral we recited poetry and hymns and the written word offers a sense of comfort and healing which we are sure we will see from the entrants of this year’s competition.”
Paul will be joined on the judging panel by Colin Dardis of Poetry NI, the current winner of the competition, Stephanie Conn from Ballyclare, Ross Thompson from Bangor and Beverley Brown of Funeral Services Northern Ireland.
Beverley Brown, General Manager, Funeral Services Northern Ireland said: “We are in the memory business and we are committed to this competition as it offers an outlet for people to express feelings, thoughts and emotions through poetry which they may otherwise have difficulty in expressing.
“To date this competition has provided a voice to more than 500 local poets and this year we are looking forward to receiving entries from across Northern Ireland from people who want to celebrate the lives of people they care about.”
Entrants will be invited to an awards recital on National Poetry Day (Thursday 6 October) hosted by BBC Arts Show presenter Marie-Louise Muir and deadline for entry is midnight on Sunday 11 September.
To enter the competition, log onto www.fsni-nationalpoetry.comp.