The winners of the Peacock Poetry Prize 2015 - an annual creative writing competition produced by Brighton Festival and Brighton, Hove & Sussex Sixth Form College (BHASVIC) - have been announced.The annual creative writing competition, produced by Brighton Festival and Brighton, Hove & Sussex Sixth Form College (BHASVIC), asks local poets aged between 7 - 18 years to explore and respond to a specific subject in an imaginative and inventive way. 2015 saw the writers respond to the theme of ‘birds’; a subject chosen by Brighton Festival 2015 Guest Director and award-winning author Ali Smith – which reflected one of the central themes of the Festival itself.
As Ali Smith writes -
Who were the first singers?
What direct link back to the days of the dinosaurs can we see all round us in the air, in the trees, on the ground, every day?
What has bones that are hollow to make themselves even lighter?
Birds. They're waiting in the wings.
What kind of creature – apart from people in an aeroplane, I mean – can fly for miles but be completely asleep all the way?
Which ones can fly backwards, and which can beat its wings 50 times a second?
Which can fly underwater?
Which can fly nearly a thousand miles a day?
Which helped with the war effort in both the first and the second world wars, and were even given medals for their service?
And here's a question as old as the birds : why did that chicken cross the road?
A charm of chaffinches, a chime of wrens, a colony of gulls, a congregation of eagles, an exaltation of larks, a flamboyance of flamingos, a gaggle of geese, a glittering of hummingbirds, a gulp of swallows, a huddle of penguins, a kettle of hawks, a murder of crows, a murmuration of starlings, a paddling of ducks, a quarrel of sparrows, a wisdom of owls.
Spread your wings.
Submissions were divided into three age groups - those writers aged between 7-10 years, 11-14 years and 15-18 years old.
If Birds Could Talk by 10-year old Laura Boyd won the 8-10 years category, The Boy and the Bird by Sarah Adegbite aged 13 won the 11-14 category, and 16-year old Olivia Sutherland won the 14-18 age range with Pigeonholed – A Sonnet for the Birds.
Winners were presented with their prizes by Ali Smith.
Pippa Smith, Head of Creative Learning at Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival said,
‘the quality of work submitted is always astounding and we hope the poets pursue their dreams of making careers from their writing.’
Chris Thomson, Principal at BHASVIC said
‘I’m delighted that the BHASVIC-inspired Peacock Poetry Prize goes from strength to strength. It is a wonderful way of bringing the writing talents of young people from all across Sussex to a focus. Thanks to the brilliant work of Brighton Festival staff, the Prize opens a door not only into the world of poetry but also into our marvellous Brighton Festival for all our entrants.’