Judging Panel For Terry Kelly Poetry Prize

Published: 8th December 2017

Ready to find out who you need to impress on the judging panel for The Terry Kelly Poetry Prize in 2018?

The Terry Kelly Poetry Prize is a competition is in memory of the respected Shields Gazette journalist and writer. The Terry Kelly Poetry Prize gets young people from the north east to write their own poems. The prize encourages young people to love poetry, as Terry enjoyed throughout his life.

Firstly, we welcome the head judge and Terry’s brother, Tom Kelly. Tom a well-know at The Customs House. He has has published six collections of poetry and over a dozen plays and musicals. Most recently audiences enjoyed Tom’s critically-acclaimed play The Dolly Mixtures.

Secondly, we welcome host and judge Alistair Robinson. Alistair is a Senior Lecturer in Journalism at the University of Sunderland. Shortlisted poets will enjoy hearing Alistair’s advice about writing.

Finally, young poets will want to impress Sheila Wakefield. Sheila is founder/editor of Northumberland-based publisher Red Squirrel Press and is joining the judging panel for the first time this year. Shelia did a great deal last year to support The Terry Kelly Poetry Prize. Sheila mentored young editor Maxine Davies, from Walker in Newcastle, helping her put together the anthology.

Elizabeth Kane, Learning Officer at The Customs House, said,

Last year’s poems were amazing. We know we are going to get so many fantastic entries. This year’s judging panel bring a wealth of expertise… and they’ll need all that experience to pick the winners. I don’t envy them the task! It’s great for young people to see it’s possible to work in the arts. On the panel we have a writer, an editor, a publisher, journalist and educator.

We are thankful for the time Tom and Alistair put into the Terry Kelly Poetry Prize. Having Sheila on board, who has done so much to develop opportunities for regional writers, will bring a new perspective to the judging panel.

We also want to thank the Kelly family, The Shields Gazette, The Barbour Foundation, Red Squirrel Press and our other supporters who make the Terry Kelly Poetry Prize possible.

The Terry Kelly Poetry Prize is part of The Takeover Festival for emerging artists and arts leaders under 25 from North East England, which takes place every year at The Customs House. Next year The Takeover runs from Monday May 28, to Friday June 1 2018.

How can I Take Part?

There are three age categories:

  • 11 and under (primary school)
  • 11 to 16 (secondary school)
  • 17 to 25.

Shortlisted poems will be included in a published collection of poems. Winners will each receive a cash prize and be invited to make an audio recording of their winning poem at CustomSpace.

Your Poem should be submitted via e-mail to elizabeth@customshouse.co.uk and the deadline for entries is noon on Friday April 27 2018. Please include your name, the name of a parent/guardian if you’re under 16, date of birth and postcode. If you are still at school, college or university, include the name of your place of study. Remember you must live in North East England and your poem should be your own and not have been entered into last years competition. Please do not submit more than one poem.

For example: ‘Susie the Soothsayer’ by Eric Sample, 20/1/2009, Alfred Sample (dad), NE33 1ES, Tyne Park Junior School.

Elizabeth added,

Last year a couple of people got in touch asking about opportunities for adults who write poems. We’d encourage interested people to take a look at The Poetry Societies website www.poetrysociety.org.uk.

For more information about The Terry Kelly Poetry Prize contact elizabeth@customshouse.co.uk. For questions about The Takeover Festival contact daniel@customshouse.co.uk.