Verse-atility impresses in children’s poetry competition Tuesday 22 October 2013 General News Presented with a blank sheet of paper, entrants to the Ilkley Literature Festival’s Children’s Poetry Competition gave their imaginations free rein, tackling topics from funny to thought-provoking. Topping the bill on Sunday afternoon during Children’s Weekend was children’s poet Dominic Berry with ‘The Dragon Who Hates Poetry’, making the perfect opportunity to present the prizes and inspire the young poets to keep writing. The competition is open to primary school children in three age categories, and the three prize winners in each age group read out their winning entry to a packed theatre at the Ilkley Playhouse. Some were humorous – the fun of getting mucky or could teachers be aliens – and others were profound – putting yourself in someone else’s shoes or the pain of losing a loved one. The prizes were provided by the Grove Bookshop and the Grammar School at Leeds (GSAL) which is the major sponsor of the Children’s Festival. Mrs Judith Kerr, deputy head of English at GSAL, presented the prizes. She said: “It’s fantastic to see so many enthusiastic young writers and we’re thrilled at GSAL to be associated with the festival and this competition. Poetry is incredibly important to me; as Coleridge said it ‘equals the best words in the best order’.” Dominic Berry, author of The Dragon Who Hates Poetry, urged the children to keep writing and entering competitions. He said: “I had a great time with poetry when I was at school. I won a competition when I was eight but I entered loads more. It feels horrible not to win, but don’t give up!” “The poems were wonderful and it was so good to see the children being encouraged to speak their poetry aloud which really shows their own emotions through their writing.” Dominic Berry is pictured with Imaan Haider, who won first prize in the year 5 and 6 age group, with her poem ‘I remember your smile’.