Winner of the 2019 Fresher Writing Prize for Poetry

Isobel Shirlaw, winner of the Fresher Writing Prize for Poetry 2019

We are delighted to announce that the winner of the Fresher Writing Prize for Poetry 2019 is Isobel Shirlaw, for her poem Gift Of Remembrance. Isobel studied English at Oxford University and has worked for the Daily Telegraph, the British Government in Bangladesh and for Refuge, a UK domestic violence charity and lives in Berkshire.

Poetry judge, Antony Dunn said: ‘A Gift of Remembrance’ is a title that really flirts with danger. Are we going to find a poem that’s a mawkish memory of lost love, or a tribute to soldiers killed in a war that the author never experienced? And then the poem goes some way down both paths to create something very strange and intriguing. I was won over by the plain speaking, by the flat tone of voice which carries so much emotional weight. The opening image of the pencil keeps on unfurling throughout the poem, transforming its own ‘unremarkable’ self into a perfectly remarkable, multi-layered and coherent piece.”

I am delighted and honoured to have won the 2019 Fresher Writing Prize for poetry. I wrote my poem last November following a conversation with my six-year-old daughter but didn’t imagine, for a moment, that it would win. Being shortlisted – and now winning – has been hugely motivating and has given me much greater confidence in my poetry. I am very grateful indeed to the judges for this wonderful opportunity.

Isobel Shirlaw

Isobel will be coming to Fresher Publishing at Bournemouth University on August 6th to record her poetry and receive her winning cheque. You can read her poem, all those of all the other shortlisted writers in the Fresher Writing Anthology, which is now available for purchase. Cheques for £7 should be made payable to Bournemouth University and sent to Emma Scattergood, Fresher Publishing, Weymouth House, Bournemouth University, Fern Barrow, Poole BH12 5BB.