Ellie Dart has been crowned Worcestershire's Young Poet Laureate 2020 and Amber McAndrew and Joshua Dyer, are the poetry competition winners for their age groups.

Worcestershire’s Young Poet Laureate competition is run jointly by Worcestershire County Council’s Libraries Service and Severn Arts. 

This year the competition was opened up to a wider age group, 8 – 18 years and was divided into three categories (8-11, 12-15 and 16-18). The competition required poets to submit two poems, one on the subject of ‘Identity’ and another on a subject of their choice. 

Ellie Dart, aged 17, winner of the Worcestershire Young Poet Laureate for 2020, said: “I'm really excited to be Worcestershire's Young Poet Laureate 2020.

I've always enjoyed expressing myself through poetry and I hope over the next 12 months as Young Poet Laureate I can inspire and encourage more young people to turn their thoughts and opinions into poetry.”

The poetry competition final was due to take place at The Hive but unfortunately the event had to be cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Undeterred and determined to find a winner and a panel of judges reached their decision online. 

Having assessed all the many brilliant entries, Ellie, who is from Kidderminster and a student at Wolverley CE Secondary School, was awarded the overall 2020 title for her poems ‘For Myself’ and ‘48/52’. 

Amber Mc Andrew won the 8 – 11 age group with her poems ‘Identity’ and ‘An Ocean of Reflection’ and Joshua Dyer won the 12 – 15 age group with his poems ‘An identity for someone who’s forgotten theirs’ and ‘One thousand men are walking’. 

The panel of judges included Birmingham Poet Laureate (2017-2018) Matt Windle, songwriter and performance coach Ade Holbrook, award-winning performance poet ‘Spoz’ and Sophie Green, Worcestershire's Young Poet Laureate 2019. 

Matt said: “I'd like to commend all the finalists for their brilliant work and commitment during such unprecedented times. The winners have inspired me and I'm excited to see them perform live in the future. 

"Amber is a stand out writer that has a bright future within the arts. Josh is a memorable performer and an artist that I look forward to seeing more of in the future. 

“There's an aura of honesty that flows from Ellie's writing ability and performance which is both authentic and refreshing."

Councillor Lucy Hodgson, Cabinet Member for Communities for Worcestershire County Council, added:  “The Young Poet Laureate event is a wonderful annual tradition, that celebrates the talents of budding young poets across our county, and every year their talents continue to astound me. Well done to all our entrants for their fantastic poems, and huge congratulations to our overall winner Ellie, and group winners Amber and Josh. I look forward to meeting them all at the presentation event at The Hive as soon as we are able to host it.”  

Laura Worsfold, Chief Executive of Severn Arts added: "We are delighted to reward our young poets and particularly at this time, poetry can provide a way of creative expression and escape for us all. The quality of the poems produced in all three age categories was outstanding.

“This annual competition, celebrates the spoken word and the talent of our young writers across the county and we hope to see a whole anthology of Worcestershire Poems in the future. Well done to Ellie, Josh and Amber."

The title of Young Poet Laureate comes with mentoring sessions with West Midlands based poet Spoz and opportunities to perform across the year. Certificates have been sent to all finalists with a promise to set up a presentation at a later date and for the winners to perform their poems in a public event.”

Read the winning poems