THE shortlist of poets in the running to win the first prize of £500 in the 2017 Bradford on Avon Arts Festival Poetry Competition has been announced.

The competition, which asked poets to write a poem on the Arts Festival’s 2017 theme, Flights of Fancy, attracted some 610 entries from across the world. The poems were judged anonymously by Carrie Etter, a Bath poet and Reader in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University.

The shortlist, which includes a local winner from the BA15 Bradford on Avon postcode area, plus first, second, third, and seven highly-commended entries, is, in alphabetical order, as follows:

Eric Berlin, Ama Bolton, Penny Hope, Zoë Sîobhan Howarth-Lowe, Iris Anne Lewis, Jill Munro, Kerry Priest, Lesley Saunders, Darius Victor Snieckus, David Van-Cauter and Natalie Whittaker.

Competition organiser, Dawn Gorman, said she is delighted to see some familiar names on the list. “We had entries from as far afield as Europe, America and even Australia, so it’s really heartening to see that three of the finalists have attended our monthly Words & Ears poetry reading series in Bradford on Avon, and one of those, Lesley Saunders, was the winner of our Poems on a Beermat competition, held in 2014.”

The shortlisted entrants are all from the UK, apart from Eric Berlin, who lives in the US. Most are planning to attend the competition finals event in the Coach House at The Swan Hotel in Bradford on Avon on Sunday, September 17, the final day of this year’s Arts Festival. The event will be officially opened by Bradford on Avon’s Deputy Mayor, Alex Kay.

The shortlisted entrants will be asked to read out their poems, and the event will also feature a reading of her own work by competition judge Ms Etter, before the winners are announced.

In addition to the main prize of £500, there is £150 for second place, £100 for third, and a special prize for the local winner, which includes a specially commissioned art work in response to the poem by Mrs Kay, who, in addition to her duties as deputy mayor, is also an artist.

The event starts at 7.30pm, and all are welcome to attend. Admission is £3 on the door. Enquiries to