Flora Pens prize-winning poem

Malvern St James’s Flora Barber (Year 13) is celebrating after being named one of six winners of the prestigious Christopher Tower Poetry Competition, run by Christ Church, University of Oxford.

Flora’s poem, Snowdrops, was Commended, winning her a prize of £250.

Flora attended the competition’s Award Ceremony at Christ Church on 19th April, with her parents, and MSJ English teacher, Mrs Karen Hubbard. The ceremony included lunch, a winners’ recital and a special tour of the College.

The Christopher Tower Poetry Competition, open to students aged 16 to 18, is the UK’s most valuable prize for young poets. This year’s theme was Stone and the competition was judged by poets Sarah Howe and Vahni Capildeo.

Flora commented, “When you enter a poem against over 1,000 others, you are all sharing something that is unique and precious, a part of you, before it is then shared with someone who you most likely will never meet. This has been an extraordinary opportunity and to be a prize winner at such a prestigious competition, meeting young poets and sharing our work (as well as being filmed for iTunes U) has been absolutely fantastic. Having Mrs Hubbard’s support at the event, as well as that of my family, made it very special. I can’t wait for the next creative writing challenge!”

“We are absolutely delighted for Flora,” said MSJ’s Headmistress, Mrs Olivera Raraty. “Poetry is so often side-lined, yet it is a powerful and important part of English Literature. I’m delighted that young students, like Flora, are creating a buzz around poetry and helping to bring it to the cultural forefront. Flora has already been recognised locally for her poetry, having won the BBC Hereford and Worcester Poetry prize last year and having received a Distinction in the 17 and Under Write and Speak a Poem Class at the Worcestershire Competitive Arts Festival in March. It is fantastic that she has now been recognised in a national competition and placed with some of the brightest young talent of today.”