After picking up an entry form in Bexley Heath Library Jan Bignell (74) decided to “Have a go” – and ended up beating over 10,000 poets to become a national poetry champion.
The National Poetry Anthology is the biggest free to enter annual poetry competition in the world.
“Libraries throughout the UK display posters and hand out leaflets for the competition,” explained Peter. “This has helped to make the National Poetry Anthology the biggest ever annual free to enter competition in the world. That’s why we always make the presentation to the winner at his or her local library.”
“We pick 250 regional winners who all go in the National Poetry Anthology book. They all get a free copy and then vote for the best poem. The author wins the prize and title of National Poetry Anthology Champion. Jan was voted this year’s winner,” added Peter.
Jan of Bexley Heath in Kent is this year’s champion. In the picture on the left Jan holds her £1,000 cheque next to her husband who holds her trophy.
“The National Poetry Anthology is the most democratic competition ever,” said Peter Quinn, Managing Director of United Press. “We received over 10,000 entries this year.”
“It’s designed to encourage more people, young or old, to start writing poetry. Previous winners include a schoolboy and a lady in her 90’s. “Most poetry competitions charge an entry fee of up to £10 a poem but by making this huge competition free to enter we have made poetry more accessible to more people and, of course, that big prize is waiting for the next winner. And it could be you!” said Peter.
So if you want a free chance to win £1,000, send up to three poems (on any subject) up to 25 lines (including blank lines) and 160 words each, to NPA Free Competition at United Press Ltd, Admail 3735, London, EC1B 1JB or visit www.unitedpress.co.uk or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or ring 01282 459 533.
Jan’s daughter Lynn encouraged her mum to enter the competition. Jan’s poem Friendship is inspired by her close friends. “I have a small group of friends who are very dear to me and I decided to write a poem about them and they loved it,“ said Jan.
Jan added, “I enjoy entering my poems for United Press’ poetry competitions because other people get the chance to read them, I get a lot of satisfaction from that. I recently went to a nursing home nearby to read my work to the residents, and now they’ve invited me back.”
Now retired from running a group for children with special needs, Jan enjoys arts and crafts and spending time with her family. She’s looking forward to using her prize money to go to the theatre and see the shows she’s always wanted to see.
Jan said, ”I can remember the exact date I started writing poetry. It was 25th June 2013. I sent a letter of complaint to my local Asda supermarket, when I read the letter I realised it rhymed. I was absolutely delighted when Asda replied and their letter was in rhyme and included gift vouchers. I’ve been writing poetry every since.”
You can read Jan’s prizewinning poem below. You have permission to use it.
Sometimes in life you come across
Someone who makes you smile,
And you realise straight away
They’d go that extra mile.
That spark you have between you
Brings a friendship true and fast,
And the special friendship that you feel,
You somehow know will last.
It’s binding and unstinting
Right through to your core,
And if their help is needed
You’d get it that’s for sure.
These very special people
Help you keep your life on track,
Knowing they’re always with you
And always have your back.
So if you should come across
Someone who makes you smile,
Turn around and say hello,
They’ll make your life worthwhile.
Jan Bignell, Bexley Heath, Kent