Poetry Competition Winners & Prizes


Waltham Forest Council are delighted to announce the winners of the Write Across Waltham Forest Poetry Competition. The contest, open across the summer in association with the Royal Literature Society and in partnership with the Mall, was designed to celebrate the power of poetry and the written word as a creative expression for residents across the borough to reflect on their lives and experiences encountered during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Judging Panel:


Adreena Leeanne, Mo Gallaccio, Khaled Hakim, Lemzi, Paul McGrane and Patrick Evans.


Winners 18+ years


1st Prize: £200: "For Jasper" by Sally Sculthorpe


Khaled Hakim said “Many people took a literal or documentary approach to the lockdown subject, and I felt this was the most gripping and most moving of that strand - literally life-affirming.”

Patrick Evans said “This journal type poem was very moving and gave a wholesome perspective to a side of the pandemic that many mothers can connect to. A playful use of rhyme and brilliant structure made this piece flow with ease and I found myself thinking that this could be a story people would read years from now as a historical window into a strange time.”


2nd Prize £100: "WhatsApp Neighbours Group" by Eithne Cullen


Paul McGrane said “This could easily have been number 1. I love how it uses WhatsApp to show how a community can keep in touch and share kindness and concern for one another.”


3rd Prize £50: “A Pathway to Beautiful Peace” by Jemelia Moseley


Andreena Leanne said “I like the resilience and working together to fight injustices.”


Young Poets (under 18 years)


1st Prize £50: 1st Prize: £50: “Our Greatness” by Kerrisha Alexander-Thompson


Patrick Evans said “This poem tackled an ongoing cause with great maturity and power. The message has already been well documented throughout time but this made it clear as day with a fresh, youthful and evocative spirit

Paul McGrane said “I’m choosing this for the line 'So when will I see more representations of me?’”

Mo Gallaccio said “A weighty and important subject handled very well. well argued and complex rhyming.”


2nd Prize £30: “Corona Corona” by Sarah Mirkin, aged 6


Khaled Hakim said “This poem by the youngest poet on the longlist has a sophisticated repeat structure used by 'professional' poets/song-writers; surely it is echoing Bob Dylan's ballad 'Corrina Corrina’!”Mo Gallaccio said “I love the repetition Corona corona it gives the poem energy and a lyrical songlike quality: great rhyming and plotting, nailing the effects of the virus both medically and personally. Well done, informative and fun.”


3rd Prize £20: “Hope Smells Like Home” by Alex Powell, aged 12.


Andreena Leanne said “It’s well written and the language used is descriptive and hopeful.”