Colette Bryce named as 2019 Poet in Residence at Ilkley Literature Festival

Derry poet won Christopher Ewart-Biggs prize and was on Forward and Costa shortlists

Colette Bryce: I’m excited to help showcase some of the great poetry from Ireland, from a mix of new and established voices, especially at this pivotal moment in the history of our two islands

Colette Bryce: I’m excited to help showcase some of the great poetry from Ireland, from a mix of new and established voices, especially at this pivotal moment in the history of our two islands

 

Ilkley Literature Festival has announced that award-winning Irish poet Colette Bryce will be its poet in residence this year.

Following in the footsteps ofImtiaz Dharker, Daljit Nagra, Andrew McMillan and Zaffar Kunial, Bryce will be programme events as well as taking part in her own readings and running workshops for adults and schools. She will also be judging the annual Walter Swan Poetry Competition and acting as mentor to the Apprentice Poet in Residence, who will be announced soon.

With an exploration of the proliferation of Irish writing talent across all literary genres a key strand of the programme this year, Bryce’s appointment is a timely one.

Born and raised in Derry, Bryce moved to England in 1988. Her first collection The Heel of Bernadette (2000) received the Aldeburgh Prize and the inaugural Strong Award for new Irish poets. The Whole & Rain-domed Universe (2014), which draws on her experience of growing up in Derry during the Troubles, received the Christopher Ewart-Biggs Award and was shortlisted for the Forward, Costa, and Roehampton poetry prizes.

Bryce has held writing fellowships at the universities of Newcastle, Manchester, Notre Dame and Trinity College Dublin, and most recently the 2018 Heimbold Chair in Irish Writing at Villanova University. Her next collection will be published in 2020.

Bryce said, “It’s an honour to be appointed poet in residence at Ilkley, such a landmark festival on the UK literary map. I’m excited to help showcase some of the great poetry from Ireland, from a mix of new and established voices, especially at this pivotal moment in the history of our two islands. I’ll aim to build on the contributions of my poet-predecessors in the role, and I look forward very much to interacting with the writers and readers of the region.”

Erica Morris, acting festival director said, “We are delighted Colette is our poet in residence this year. Her poetry brims with beautiful, pared-back lyricism and her precision with language is such that a few simple words can become powerful expressions of humanity, captured moments of memory, or sharp tools of transgression. We are looking forward to working with Colette to create a series of compelling poetry events within this October’s festival programme.”

Niccola Swan from the Walter Swan Trust said, “The Walter Swan Trust is delighted to be sponsoring the Ilkley Literature Festival poetry competition for the fourth year running. We are very much looking forward to working with Colette. Walter (1954-2014) loved spending time in Ireland and was a fan of many Irish poets and writers so I know he would have been excited to discover the new Irish voices emerging today.”

The Walter Swan Poetry Competition is now open for entries from anyone aged 18 or over, writing on any subject. Poems must be no longer than 30 lines and the deadline for entries is July 31st. Alongside the main prize, writers aged 18-25 are also eligible for a new prize, judged by the Apprentice Poet in Residence. Details of how to enter can be found at ilkleyliteraturefestival.org.uk

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