The Robert Hutchinson Young Poets Competition launched

Changing the World: poems for a new climate

Calling all young eco warriors. A new competition with a difference is inviting Hampshire school and college wordsmiths to write poems on climate change.

If you’re worried about the rising of the seas or the falling of the insect population; if the impact of global warming on wild life, or human life, is giving you grief; if the world’s overconsumption is eating you up – then maybe poetry is the way to express your concerns.

Winchester Poetry Festival and Winchester Action on Climate Change (WinACC) have joined forces to run a poetry competition for young people in Hampshire. Changing the World: poems for a new climate is a call for young people aged 11-16 years to get inspired, inspire others– and win cash prizes.

This eco-friendly Young Poets’ Competition has been launched to celebrate the memory of Winchester climate change campaigner and poetry enthusiast Robert Hutchison, who died last year. Robert was a man who made things happen. He founded WinACC in 2007 and Winchester Poetry Festival in 2013. He campaigned enthusiastically on environmental matters and believed that poetry is a great force for good. Now it’s young people’s turn to fly the green flag.

The Robert Hutchison Young Poets’ Competition will be judged by Robyn Bolam, who is Hampshire Poet 2018.

WinACC’s executive director, Tom Brenan, said: “It is the younger generations who will be particularly impacted by climate change unless we adjust our behaviour now. This competition provides a great platform for young poets to find their voice with words to inspire action.”

Entries on any aspect of climate change are welcomed. There are two age groups: 11-13 and 14-16 years, with cash prizes of up to £100, and book tokens for the runners up. First-prize winners will also win £100 for their school.

The Competition is free. Poems can be any length up to 30 lines and entrants must live in or go to school or college in Hampshire. Closing date is 15 August 2018.

The winners’ voices will be heard in October when they will read their poems at a special prize-giving event on National Poetry Day, Thursday 4 October, just before this year’s Winchester Poetry Festival (5-7 October). Festival chair Stephen Boyce said: “National Poetry Day’s theme this year is “Change”, so Winchester Poetry Festival’s newest competition is a unique opportunity for young people with new ideas about saving the planet to deliver a timely message.”

The award winning poems will also be published in a special anthology, which will be available during and after the Festival.

Robert Hutchinson

Robert Hutchison (1941 – 2017) was a man who made things happen. He founded Winchester Action on Climate Change (WinACC) in 2007 and Winchester Poetry Festival in 2013. He graduated from Trinity College Dublin in philosophy and went on to jobs in the BBC, publishing and the Arts Council. He was also a trustee of the Poetry Society and a Lib Dem councillor in Winchester.