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Girls Enjoy Success in Portico Prize for Young Writers

Tuesday, 08 January 2013

Year 13 pupil Erin Taylor is celebrating success in a prestigious northern writing competition, after winning the poetry category of the Portico Prize for Young Writers.

Two other Bolton School pupils, Annie Simon and Georgia Thurston, were Highly Commended.

The Portico Prize for Young Writers is a regional literary competition for promising writers, mirroring the prestigious adult competition, the Portico Prize for Literature, and celebrating the region through its young writers.

In May, schools across the North West were invited to nominate their three most promising writers aged between 14 and 18. Bolton School Girls’ Division chose Erin, Annie and Georgia. The girls attended workshops with professional writers and were appointed mentors from Manchester Metropolitan University’s Creative Writing undergraduates. They had to produce a piece of poetry or prose on the theme ‘The North’ and judging took place in July. Erin’s winning poem was entitled ‘Stockton Heath’.

Erin was presented with her award at the Portico Prize Dinner at Manchester Town Hall, alongside top names from the book world including authors from the shortlist for the Portico prize for Literature Joan Bakewell, Jeanette Winterson and Val McDermid. Annie and Georgia also received their awards at a celebratory event. All three girls received book tokens and will have their work included in the Portico Prize for Young Writers 2012 Anthology and on the website.

The Portico Prize for Young Writers has been running since 2010. The main Portico Prize has been running since 1985 and previous winners include Anthony Burgess and Sarah Hall. The Portico Prizes, awarded by the Portico Library in Manchester, are supported by Arts Council England and The Zochonis Charitable Trust.

Erin’s winning poem was called Stockton Heath and is reproduced in full below.

Stockton Heath

So I stand there and inhale

What was, back then, just a summer

Among endless summers;

The smell of warmth – you know the type

Of grass and freshness and gentle sun.

My sister and my cousins laugh

Clambering onto the Wendy House roof

That we broke one time, but never told.

Della and Jess and Popeye and Peggy,

And lumbering behind, angry Boysey,

The Westie we just loved to tease.

The trees in the gardens that stretched for miles

Each one with a sleeping hound beneath

Where they all lie now, except for Jess

She may be fat, but she’s tough as nails;

Just like Nana

Grandad’s wiry kisses tickle our faces

And we cringe away, giggling

‘Don’t tell your dad!’ and our palms

Are filled with sweets.

He goes back to watering his flowers

The cats sprawled at his feet -

Ticket and Receipt;

He loved those things.

Then cousin Lily, only just thirteen

Older than we ever fathomed ourselves to be

Chases us round the garden;

We’re playing Scooby Doo.

I’m Velma, go figure

But my sister is Scooby

And we tried to make her eat the dog treats

So I suppose being the nerd’s not so bad.

We get into the tool shed

The sawdust smell would linger

Even after all these years.

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Year 13 pupil Erin Taylor has won the Portico Prize for Young Writers

Annie, Georgia and Erin enjoyed success in the Portico Prize for Young Writers

Year 13 pupil Erin Taylor has won the Portico Prize for Young Writers

Erin (third from the right) pictured at the award ceremony with the fiction winner and runners up in each category