Barnsley’s Poet Laureate supports local talent as part of competition launch

Barnsley’s poet laureate, Eloise Unerman is supporting local poets as part of an exciting competition launched as part of the Barnsley Museums digital programme.

Entries for Hear My Voice 2020 open on Saturday, 9 May. To celebrate Eloise will be releasing the first of her ‘top-tips’ instalments on the Hear My Voice Barnsley and Barnsley Museums’ social media platforms. They will offer advice and guidance to encourage new writers.

Hear My Voice 2020, which has been made possible through the support of Bansley TUC, is open to everyone who lives in Barnsley and will capture a creative record of the Covid-19 crisis across the borough. Winning poetry will be compiled into an anthology alongside work by Poet Laureate Eloise Unerman and Barnsley’s Poet in Lockdown Ian McMillan, who will also act as judges. Entries are in three age categories: children under 12; young people aged 12-18 and adults (over 18)

The competition is being run by Barnsley Museums, as part of the Hear My Voice Programme which encourages expression through poetry and spoken word. It compliments Ian McMillan’s Poet in Lockdown project which is already inspiring people to pick up a pen and capture some of their own ideas on the current situation. 

As well as Eloise’s ‘Top-Tips’, Hear My Voice will be also be supporting budding poets by delivering a series of short online workshops for different age groups led by local writers. These will run over the course of the competition and be released each Saturday from 16 May and into the autumn, giving people plenty of opportunities to try out different approaches to writing.

Eloise Unerman, Poet Laureate, said: “Barnsley Museums are keen to capture the emotional impact that the Covid-19 crisis is having on people across the whole borough.  Poetry is the perfect way to express thoughts and feelings that otherwise can be difficult to explain. We hope that the competition format will encourage everyone to take part, even those who haven’t written or shared a poem before. I have recorded a series of ‘Top-Tips for new writers’ to help people make a start.”

Councillor Tim Cheetham, Cabinet Spokesperson for Place (Regeneration and Culture) said: “It is fantastic to see Barnsley’s poet laureate, Eloise Unerman, encouraging everyone to pick up a pen. Particularly given the pressures she is facing in her other role as a 111 call operative. This competition is an exciting and inspiring opportunity for everyone in Barnsley to have their experience of the current crisis heard. The competition anthology will provide a record to help future generations understand what it meant to be living in Barnsley through the Covid-19 situation and is a fitting companion project to Ian McMillan’s Lockdown Sonnets.”

The Hear My Voice 2020 Competition is one part of Barnsley Museums thought provoking and innovative digital programme that is helping to keep the borough’s communities entertained, active and inspired whilst at home.

For details of the full condition of entry, visit Barnsley museums.

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