The IIML revives the National Schools Poetry Award for 2015

Not sure of the details yet of fundraising but will keep you posted.
The IIML revives the National Schools Poetry Award for 2015

How you can help

Kia ora,

In 2003 Bill Manhire set up the only national poetry competition for high school students in Aotearoa. Last year we had to cancel the Award through a lack of funds. We have just launched a fundraising campaign to help revive an important literary event for young writers which each year has attracted more than 300 poets from across the country.

We’re not starting from scratch. We already have some support from Creative New Zealand. But we still have a large shortfall. With your help we can deliver a full Award, securing the workshop which is such a vital part of the experience, and promoting poetry throughout our high schools.

The Award is about much more than a winning poem. English teachers use the award to generate excitement and activity around Creative Writing. Ten shortlisted poets are flown to Wellington for a weekend of workshops with great poets hosted by the International Institute of Modern Letters. These young writers become ambassadors for creativity when they return to their schools.

The Award has made a difference. Students who have been shortlisted in previous Poetry Awards have gone on to study Creative Writing at tertiary level, won other national writing prizes for emerging writers and have been published in national magazines and literary journals.

Ruby Solly, from Western Heights High School, Rotorua, was the 2013 runner-up: ‘After I came back from the poetry workshop I became very committed to school and writing as I had been given a taste of what it was like to be with other writers and to see what kind of course or occupation I could end up in as a poet. The workshop showed me various ways of both ‘sparking creativity’ and refining my work to make it the best that it could be. These skills helped me to achieve publication in both Minarets (literary journal) and Redraft. It was definitely a highlight of the year for me.’

Margie McLaren, who teaches at Baradene College, writes: ‘The main benefit is the new confidence instilled in the students about the value of poetry in a utilitarian world which does not always attach the significance to poetry that it deserves . . . The Award is an affirmation of the many benefits of working with and celebrating language, and the special ways in which poetry can reflect human experience. The opportunity of entering for the Award has been a very positive and rewarding experience.’

We hope you can support us!

Ngā mihi nui,

Damien Wilkins
International Institute of Modern Letters

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