The winners of Dunedin’s 2017 WriteNow poetry competition & winning poem

We’re thrilled to announce the winners of the 2017 WriteNow poetry competition. This annual competition for Dunedin secondary school students was judged this year by Lynley Edmeades. First place in the senior section went to Molly Crighton (Year 12, Columba College), for her poem “Headlights”, and the winner in the junior section is Mia Parsons (Year 9, Otago Girls High School), for “Morning”. Full results, winning poems, judge’s report and prizegiving details are here:

From Lynley Edmeades’ judges report:

I was really intrigued to read what teenagers are writing about today. Whichever direction the poems took, I found myself being invited into the minds of these young people and was often impressed with the treatment of the subject matter. I don’t know what it is like being a teenager today, but I do know that the modern world is, for many of us, a difficult place to understand at the best of times. Some of these poems remind me that poetry offers us navigational skills for the complexities of life. That these young minds are turning to poetry in times like these gives me solace and optimism: solace that they are looking to the written word as a medium of expression, and optimism for a future that has the humanities at its core.



We travel parallel to a queue of cars –
That sting-bright shine of a string of pearls
Around anonymity’s urban neck.
Waiting tastes like suet
And rush hour a fatty feast
For clogged one-ways
And no-exits like the fence at a football game.
In between each bracket of streetlight the stars open and close
As though they are some bioluminescent tropical flower
Releasing headlight spores
To scatter white hot and sting-bright
On the bone-stark road below.

Molly Crighton: First place, senior section, 2017 WriteNow poetry competition


The WriteNow prize ceremony will be held on Friday 25 August as part of the National Poetry Day public event:

When: 25 August 2017, 5:30pm-8:00pm
Where: Dunningham Suite, Dunedin City Library
Price: Tickets $5 (bookable in person, at your local library)

Special thanks to WriteNow sponsors: University Book Shop; University of Otago Department of English and Linguistics; Otago University Press.

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