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Colquhoun Leads Search for NZ’s Best Young Poet

Glenn Colquhoun leads the search for New Zealand’s best young poet

Award-winning poet Glenn Colquhoun will judge this year’s Bell Gully National Schools Poetry Award, to be announced in Wellington in August.

Entries have now opened for the Award, which is organised by Victoria University’s International Institute of Modern Letters (IIML) and supported by leading law firm Bell Gully.

Any student in Year 12 and 13 enrolled at a New Zealand secondary school is encouraged to submit a poem, and they have until the 18 June 2004 to enter the competition.

The winner will receive a $500 cash prize; a $500 book grant for their school’s library; a year’s membership to the New Zealand Book Council; and subscriptions to leading literary journals Landfall and Sport.

Glenn Colquhoun, recent winner of the IIML’s Prize in Modern Letters, thought to be the most valuable literary prize for an emerging author in the world, will have the unenviable task of selecting the winner of this year’s competition, but is looking forward to seeing the fresh talent that will undoubtedly emerge from the competition.

“The first poem I ever fell deeply in love with was Ozymandias in fourth form English. It was such a passionate time. I remember writing the most god-awful poems afterwards but realising that sometimes the way you said something made a lot of difference to what you actually said. I'm looking forward to reading teenage poems again; going back to a time most would say I never really left. The truth is I'm really only doing this so I can pinch the best ideas and use them myself!”

This is the second year that the IIML and law firm Bell Gully have joined forces to stage the award, with the support of existing sponsors, the New Zealand Book Council and Book Tokens (NZ) Ltd, and new sponsors Landfall and Sport, to help with the search for emerging talent.

The winning poet will be announced at a reception in Wellington in August during the Bell Gully Schools Writing Festival 2004 – a chance for young writers to work with the country’s leading writers, poets and screenwriters.

Entry forms have been sent to all secondary schools and are also available upon request from


Notes: About Glenn Colquhoun Glenn Colquhoun is an award-winning poet and also works as a doctor in Northland. He has written three collections of poetry and a children’s book and was awarded the Prize in Modern Letters in early 2004, which is thought to be the most valuable literary prize in the world for an emerging author at $60,000.

His first collection of poetry, The Art of Walking Upright, won the Jessie Mackay NZSA Best First Book of Poetry Award in the 2000 Montana New Zealand Book Awards. His second collection, Playing God, won both the Poetry Category and the coveted 2003 Montana Readers’ Choice Award at the 2003 Montana New Zealand Book Awards.

About the International Institute of Modern Letters The International Institute of Modern Letters is an international centre focusing on contemporary imaginative writing. Inaugurated in March 2001, the Institute is situated on Victoria University of Wellington’s Kelburn campus and incorporates the University’s renowned Creative Writing Programme and its annual writer-in-residence programme.

About Bell Gully Bell Gully is one of New Zealand's leading commercial law firms. The firm has the country's strongest legal team with over 250 partners and lawyers with experience and expertise in a wide range of business and government sectors.

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