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Issued:11/05/12

A sixth form student from Barwick-in-Elmet has won first prize in a competition to find budding young poets across the region.

Sophie Foster, 17, who studies at Notre Dame Sixth Form College in Leeds, won the Uni Verse for Schools Poetry Competition, organised by Sheffield Hallam University.

A sixth form student from Barwick-in-Elmet has won first prize in a competition to find budding young poets across the region.

Sophie Foster, 17, who studies at Notre Dame Sixth Form College in Leeds, won the Uni Verse for Schools Poetry Competition, organised by Sheffield Hallam University.

Her poem Iambic Betrayal, which was inspired by her parents' separation, captured the competition judges' imagination.

As well as winning Sophie £50 in book vouchers and a signed copy of musician Jarvis Cocker's book Mother, brother, lover: Selected lyrics, her winning poem will also be displayed in Sheffield's branch of bookshop Waterstones.

Sophie said: "I'm really excited and shocked about winning. I write in my spare time and I hope to study creative writing or English literature at university because I want to be a novelist or poet."

The competition was organised by Sheffield Hallam's outreach and UK recruitment development team to encourage young people to gain practical experience of creative writing.

Entrants to the competition took part in workshops with staff at the University where they were able to learn about creative writing and get practical tips to help with them with their future work.

The competition was run, for the first time, as part of the University's annual internal staff and student poetry competition.

The judging panel included poet Debjani Chatterjee, an honorary doctor of Sheffield Hallam.

Young wordsmiths won prizes in a competition to find budding across the region
Sophie Foster won first prize in won the Uni Verse for Schools Poetry Competition
Jed Dixon also won a prize for his poem How to write poetry
Pagan Hollis, from Bilborough College in Nottingham, won third prize

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She said: "What struck us was how playful a lot of the poems were, how language was used in creative ways to express themes on identity. We also admired the honesty of a number of the poems."

Sarah Jenkins, schools and colleges liaison manager at Sheffield Hallam, said: "The competition was a fantastic opportunity for young people to gain practical experience of creative writing.

"Working with students and staff at the University has really inspired the young people and I am sure we have found poets of the future."

Young wordsmiths Jed Dixon and Pagan Hollis from Bilborough College in Nottingham also scooped prizes for their poems How to write poetry and Anne Boleyn.

The winners picked up their prizes at an award ceremony in Sheffield Hallam's Adsetts Learning Centre on Thursday 10 May, as part of the Uni Verse Poetry Schools Competition.

For press information contact: Laurie Harvey on 0114 225 2621 or email laurie.harvey@shu.ac.uk.