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Fenland Poet Laureate Award

Poet Hannah Teasdale has been named the 2024 Fenland Poet Laureate, following an awards ceremony at March Town Hall on 15 March.

Hannah earned the honour with her poem, 'The Un-Coupling', inspired by her winter sightings of migrated swans to the fields of Fenland.

Hannah Teasdale crop

Hannah Teasdale

Sir Harry Smith Community College student, Lacey Vinn, has been named the 2024 Young Fenland Poet Laureate. She won with her poem, 'Christmas Truce', inspired by a Christmas Day football match from World War One.

Lacey Vinn crop

Lacey Vinn

About the Fenland Poet Laureate Award

The Fenland Poet Laureate Award is an annual poetry competition to find the next Poet Laureate for the district.

It has often been described as the most prestigious award of its kind in Cambridgeshire.

The winning poet is awarded the honourary title of Fenland Poet Laureate and gets the opportunity to represent and promote Fenland poetry during their year in the role.

A young people's poetry competition, for ages 17 and under, runs alongside the main competition, the winner of whom is crowned Young Fenland Poet Laureate.

Winning the competition is a recognition of creative writing talent as well as being a great way to be involved with the local community.

About the entry process

The 2024 competition was open to anyone who lives, works or attends school in the administrative district of Fenland. It was completely free to enter.

Applicants were asked to submit poetry of 40 lines or less, and previously unpublished. Poems could be in free verse or stricter form. There was no set theme, although it was asked that entries should reference Fenland in some way. 

Competition entries were shortlisted by members of Fenland District Council's Culture, Arts and Heritage (CAH) Committee.

Shortlisted submissions were judged by award-winning poet and CAH committee Chair, Cllr Elisabeth Sennitt Clough, and the 2022/23 Fenland Poet Laureate, Qu Gao.

Cllr Elisabeth Sennitt Clough Biography

Elisabeth Sennitt Clough

Elisabeth Sennitt Clough, Ph.D, MA, BA, is the author of Glass (Saboteur Best Pamphlet Award), Sightings (Michael Schmidt Award), At or Below Sea Level (PBS Recommendation), The Cold Store and My Name is Abilene (Forward Prize Best Collection shortlist). Elisabeth is an alumna of the Arvon/Jerwood Mentorship scheme 2016, mentored by Mona Arshi; Toast Poets 2017; and Uni Slam 2019. She was also a Ledbury Emerging Poet, 2017. Elisabeth has been long-listed for the National Poetry Competition and read with the former Poet Laureate of England, Carol Ann Duffy. Elisabeth is Editor of the Fenland Poetry Journal. Her own poems have appeared in the Forward Prize anthology in 2018, 2022 and 2023. Other work has appeared in Poem, The Rialto, Mslexia, Wasafiri, Magma, The Cannon's Mouth, Ambit, Ink, Sweat & Tears and Stand among others. Elisabeth was also part of the Faber Poetry Academy, under mentors Daljit Nagra and Rachael Allen in 2020/21.

Qu Gao Biography

Qu Gao

Qu Gao is a third-year undergraduate at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. Aged two, she moved with her parents from China to the UK, and has been living in the Fens of North Cambridgeshire ever since. Qu Gao divides her time between studying Physical Natural Sciences, going on long walks and swims, and brewing very strong cups of tea.

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