Winners and runners up of the Fenland Poet Laureate Awards

Fenland Poet Laureate awards PHOTO: FPL

Fenland Poet Laureate awards PHOTO: FPL - Credit: Archant

Poets and writers from across three counties came together to take part in the sixth annual Fenland Poet Laureate Awards.

Fenland Poet Laureate awards PHOTO: FPL

Fenland Poet Laureate awards PHOTO: FPL - Credit: Archant

The awards gives writers the chance to compose poems on the theme of ‘The Fens’ and compete for the title of Fenland Poet Laureate.

Younger poets (aged between 10 and 17) can also enter to compete for the Young Fenland Poet Laureate prize.

The competition received over one hundred and ten entries this year, and the judges were overwhelmed by the really high quality of all the poems that were submitted.

All entries were judged anonymously and the top eight finalists in each category were invited to read their poetry at the awards ceremony, which took place at March Town Hall.

Fenland Poet Laureate award young winner Sophie Lutkin PHOTO: FPL

Fenland Poet Laureate award young winner Sophie Lutkin PHOTO: FPL - Credit: Archant

You may also want to watch:

This year, the Young Fenland Poet Laureate prize was awarded to Sophie Lutkin, of Whittlesey, for her poem ‘In Situ’.

The judges admired the way Sophie’s poem, which was about the archaeological finds at Much Farm in Whittlesey, showed the history of the fens in its soil”.

Most Read

Second place was awarded to Oliver Williams, of Wisbech Grammar School, for his poem ‘My Fenland Journey’, and Georgina Melia, of Little Thetford, took third place with her piece entitled ‘Homeland Glory’.

There were also five highly commended poets in this category: Ivy Birmingham, Thomas Fox, Thomas Kane, Tia MacNab and Phoebe Oram.

Sophie said “The atmosphere [at the ceremony] was great and it was so lovely to hear other poets performing their work and getting recognition for it. I’ve had many congratulations from friends and family and my English teacher is very proud!”

The winner of the adult category was Kate Caoimhe Arthur, of Cottenham, with her poem ‘Tree’.

The judges chose Kate’s poem as their favourite because of its original perspective.

She said: “Where most poems celebrated the wide openness of the fens landscape, this poem engaged with the negative implications of not being able to hide within it.

“It investigated the psychological impacts of the landscape, and in the final stanza drew this dirt and darkness into a domestic setting.”

Liz Davies, of Fenstanton, took second place for her poem ‘A Wet Summer on the Fens’, and third prize was awarded to Jacqueline Ogden, of Burwell, for her poem ‘Waterways’.

The five highly commended poets were Tony Bowland, Beth Hartley, Rosemary Jones, Dominic O’Sullivan, and Sue Welfare.

The sixth annual Fenland Poet Laureate awards were supported by 20 Twenty Productions, Babylon Arts and Market Place.

For more information on the winners, photos of the awards ceremony, and all the gossip, check out


In Situ

He traced the curves of his lover’s body;

smoothed the wrinkles, dips and folds of skin. He

held her in his hands - she was young, fragile.

A taupe tapestry. She was a small pot soon burnt

a rich copper, flames which tore like hands the

pages of her flesh. Her lover preserved

her in centuries of silt, buried her

with ember and jet from foreign lands; beads

for her eyes. He dressed her in plant fibres

intricately charred and waterlogged, spun

from the fusion of bone and bronze. Her legs

collapsed like timber under her, stilts which

fell like spoons against bowls. They found her years

later, a sleeping artefact. They traced

the curves of her worn body, smoothed the wrinkles,

dips and folds of skin. They held her in their

hands - she was old, but not fragile. A Bronze

Age discovery, resurfaced in situ.

Sophie Lutkin (Young Fenland Poet Laureate 2017)


Running is never enough

I am listening for the sound

of the ground saying Here

or perhaps a bird flight

arching above it or light pool

from a shaft of sun

Home. Where can I plant us.

Follow the lockspit

To the elbow of the fen

Looking for a clearing

Or a piece of scrub

Where I can dig a hole,

a burrow, damp with dew

An oak tree, wrecked by wind

I found it, and a red fox

White tailed

Why must I be an animal

To hide in this place

In our bed, these nights

I dig into you with

Fingers, tongue, nails.

Kate Caoimhe Arthur (Fenland Poet Laureate 2017)

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter