Sunday, August 19, 2007


Chloë Nannestad of Epsom Girls Grammar and Shannyn Boyd of Hutt Valley High School are the winners of this year’s New Zealand Post Schools National Poetry Competition.

Year 12 student Chloë, winner of the overall award for best poem with Mosaic, receives a $500 cash prize and a $500 grant for her school library, along with a new i-Pod loaded with New Zealand poetry. She says the win was totally unexpected.

“Winning is thrilling - it's wonderful to have my writing validated by such a prestigious competition, and the award greatly supports my application to the Dramatic Writing Program at New York's Tisch School of the Arts 2008 intake. The masterclass weekend is a great opportunity to connect with other young writers and to learn from some of New Zealand's best poets."

Shannyn’s poem The Pact is being turned into a song and recorded by The Black Seeds performer Barnaby Weir. The song will be distributed to radio stations and made available for free download on iTunes and Digirama.

The Year 12 student says the whole experience has been a real buzz.

"I can’t believe my poem was chosen as the song to be recorded. It's such an amazing opportunity to meet Barnaby and work with him. This is fantastic."

New Zealand Post chief executive John Allen says it’s great to see young people enthused by the power of poetry.

“I’m so pleased that young people are seeing the potential poetry has to offer in their personal, and hopefully, professional lives. Congratulations to all finalists — they are all winners.”

International Institute of Modern Letters director Bill Manhire agrees.

“This competition is going from strength to strength – and that means more and more young New Zealanders are taking pleasure in words and writing.”

Themed ‘Liberate your Words,’ this year’s competition has been judged by award-winning New Zealand poet Andrew Johnston, and the winners were announced at an award ceremony held in Wellington on 17 August. All ten finalists will have their expenses paid to attend a poetry masterclass at Victoria University in Wellington, and receive a package of book tokens and subscriptions to literary organisations and journals.

The competition was open to all Year 12 and 13 students attending New Zealand secondary schools.

This is the first year New Zealand Post has supported the competition, which is run by Victoria University’s International Institute of Modern Letters.

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