Monday, 23 November 2009

Dafydd Wyn wins the 2009 John Tripp Award for Spoken Poetry

The 2009 John Tripp Award for Spoken Poetry came to a head on Thursday 19 November as Academi hosted the much anticipated Grand Final in Cardiff. An unprecedented number of supporters, writers, literary enthusiasts and those who were just curious flocked to The Wharf to see who would be named Wales’ best performance poet. Following a dash for extra chairs, stools and with people almost literally hanging from the rafters the scene was finally set, the finalists chosen, the judges poised and the bar, luckily, fully stocked.

MC Ifor Thomas led what proved to be an evening full of diverse and original poetry performances from 16 new and familiar faces to the performance scene. Judging the competition were 2009 Wales Book of the Year winner Deborah Kay Davies, poet and Editor of New Welsh Review, Kathryn Gray, and Wiard Sterk Executive Director of independent public art consultancy Safle.

The competition was intense but only one poet could walk away with the title and the First Prize of £500. It was experience and a traditional approach to performance poetry however which won out in the end as the judges picked Dafydd Wyn from Ammanford as the overall winner. Dafydd Wyn, who performed a series of three heartfelt poems about his nephew, has published two novels including a children’s book The M4 Cats (Lolfa 2008). As well as teaching English in London, Bala and at Ystalyfera he is also a former Mayor of Cwmaman and a former runner-up in the John Tripp Award.

It was the “verbal pyrotechnics” of the Grand Final’s youngest competitor Liam Johnson, though, which landed him both the judges’ Runner-up prize and the coveted Audience Prize voted for on the night by the throng of literary enthusiasts in attendance. 19 year-old Liam, who is currently studying English and Creative Writing at UWIC University, started writing poems and lyrics at fifteen and states the Beat Generation as his most significant influence. After making such an impression in his first performance poetry competition Liam is definitely one to watch for the future.


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