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The Leeds Peace Poetry competition – running since 2003 – has become a very well-established annual event, each year attracting 1000s of entries from schools, young people, adults and community groups.

Through the initiative, we aim to increase skills in poetry, and to encourage people to explore peace and justice issues through creative writing.

For the first time the awards evening was held in the Great Hall of Leeds University on Monday 25 November 2013. Master of Ceremonies for the evening, Professor John Whale, Head of the Leeds University English School and Professor of Romantic Literature, described the event as a “celebration of the talent of the people of Leeds and Yorkshire”. The event interspersed readings of the short-listed poems, with music and dance by young Leeds performers.

The 23 short-listed poems had been selected from the many hundreds of entries submitted by 67 Primary Schools, 12 secondary Schools and numbers of adults and young people. The winners and runner-up were then chosen from by this year’s Chief Judge, the world-renowned poet Ian Duhig, who was educated at the University. The prizes, and certificates for all those short-listed were presented

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by the Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Thomas Murray.

In his concluding remarks, Guy Wilson, Chairman of Leeds Peace Poetry praised all the entrants for their courage in first staring at a blank page or screen and then creating something out of nothing. And he ended; “Thank you all so very much for sharing with us some of your thoughts about this elusive but so very important thing peace. By doing this you have helped to make our world just a little more peaceful.”

The Peace Poetry Competition is made possible by financial and in-kind assistance from a group of partner organisations that this year included Together for Peace, Leeds City Council, Leeds Children’s Service, Leeds Library and Information Service, Leeds Philosophical and Literary Society, and the Yorkshire Evening Post.

Next year’s 11th annual competition will engage with the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War and, if funds can be raised, will include workshops and access to stimulus material held by Leeds University in the Liddle Collection.

For more info on the Leeds Peace Poetry competition, please contact us.