Verbal is delighted to announce the poems shortlisted for the Seamus Burns Creative Writing Competition.

Launched in July, the prize has been made possible through a generous, anonymous, donation as a tribute to Seamus Burns, father of Derry-Londonderry writer Mark Burns.

Entrants were tasked with creating a poem to engage with an audience aged 18-24, dealing with the themes of resilience and exploring how individuals adapt to overcome setback in their lives.

Judge, Colin Dardis: “We had a lot of brilliant entries exploring the idea of resilience, from offering advice, to intensely personal testimonies, all challenging adversity and searching for a way forward. It’s been incredibly inspirational reading these poems, and we hope that whoever wins, their poetry will equally inspire others to find comfort and hope.”

The winning entries, sharing a prize fund of £500, will be published in The Honest Ulsterman, with the authors invited to read their poems at Youth 19 ‘We are Poets’ initiative which will take place in November. 

Gregory McCartney Editor of the Honest Ulsterman and judge said: “The quality and standard of entries that we received were very high. We are delighted to offer this opportunity for upcoming writers to be acknowledged.” 

The winning poems will also be used in Verbal’s innovative Reading Rooms programme, providing a positive intervention through the literary arts to people’s health and well-being.

Winners will be announced mid-October.

Shortlisted Poems:

Jennifer Herron – Break

Paul Jeffcutt- Pilgrim

Mel McMahon – Love Song

Lauren Scharhag – Comfort Animals

Glen Wilson – Rest, Reset, Respond

Nidhi Zak – Ode/to this day