Former Foyle poet wins top Keats-Shelley youth prize

Former Foyle Young Poets of the Year winner Allegra Mullan and Young Poets Network (YPN) poet Nadia Lines have won the top two prizes in the ‘Young Romantics’ poetry section of the Keats-Shelley Prize 2018 in a competitive category which attracted 50% more entries than in 2017.

Allegra won the ‘Young Romantics’ category (for poets aged 16-18) for her poem ‘Storm’, while Nadia, who previously won up a YPN/ Oxfam ‘Turn up the Volume’ Poetry Challenge in 2017, was runner-up for her poem ‘Cast Off’.  Poets were asked to write on the theme of ‘liberty’ to celebrate the bicentenary of Shelley’s four-act lyrical drama Prometheus Unbound (1820).

In the adult poetry category, American poet Laurinda Lind won the first prize for her poem ‘Conscientious Objector’ while Tara Lee, a DPhil student at Oxford, won the essay category for her essay ‘Philosophic Numbers Smooth’.

This year’s Keats-Shelley Prizes were presented at the Society of Antiquaries at Burlington House by the Chair of the Judging Panel, Liz Lochhead, winner of the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry and National Poet of Scotland 2011-16. The panel of judges included poets Matthew Sweeney and Jo Shapcott, and Professors Simon Bainbridge and Sharon Ruston.  

Inaugurated in 1998, the Keats-Shelley Prize, run by the Keats-Shelley Memorial Association, is an annual competition for poems and essays on Romantic themes.

The Keats-Shelley Memorial Association takes care of the Keats-Shelley House in Rome, the house at the bottom of the Spanish Steps in which John Keats died, and which since 1906 has been a museum dedicated to the English Romantic poets.