Just over a month ago, five young poets took part in the final of the Megan Young Poetry Prize. At an evening called A Celebration of Poetry, they read their contributions and the winner was announced by the former poet laureate, Sir Andrew Motion, who also presented the award.
The event had been organised by the Stephen Perse Foundation school in Cambridge (formerly known as The Perse School for Girls). This was the school attended by my daughter Megan in the 1990s. Just before Christmas I had sent a copy of Wordsmith: The Gift of a Soul, to the school. The principal told me that she had been very moved by the book and wondered if there was anything the school could do. I tentatively suggested the idea of a poetry prize in Megan’s name.
I have been amazed and impressed by the way in which the school took up the idea, invited other schools in the Cambridge area to take part, and organised the whole thing within a matter of a few weeks. My contribution was to invite Sir Andrew to be the lead judge and present the award, which he very kindly agreed to do, and to ask Pembrokeshire sculptor, Darren Yeadon, whether he would be able to create an award. He gave his time free of charge and produced a beautiful abstract piece sculpted from bluestone from the Preseli hills. The school plans to make the Megan Young Poetry Prize a regular event.
On returning home from the Celebration of Poetry evening, I felt a change in my very intense relationship with Wordsmith. It seemed to me that the book, my daughter’s poetry, had taken on a life of its own. When I set off down the path of publishing Megan’s work, I had not envisaged, could not have foreseen, that it would lead to a poetry prize being set up in her name.
Many wonderful things have happened since the book was published last summer. Now, I feel, is the time to share some of this with you – those who have read the book and those who have yet to do so.
This is my first musing. There will be more.