Denmark, Voorhees to be next ‘Communal Pen’ workshop hosts

The S.C. Arts Commission and S.C. Humanities are excited to continue Communal Pen, a creative writing workshop, in Denmark on Saturday, Dec. 1 to help you write to celebrate and explore connections to place and community. They have two questions:

  1. What are the memories, stories and traditions that make our community home?
  2. What landmarks, customs, sights and sounds connect us with family, friends and neighbors, while highlighting our unique experience and identity?
Sometimes, you’ve just got to write it down! Co-facilitators EBONI RAMM and MICHELLE ROSS will lead the workshop as you write to celebrate and explore connections to place and community. Often, it is in our written words that memory lives. The writing process can itself help us to awaken and preserve thoughts and traditions, offering insight, understanding and respect to present and future generations. This three-hour writing workshop runs from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Wright-Potts Library at Voorhees College in Denmark (look for it in the first floor student lounge, see map here). It draws inspiration from the Smithsonian exhibit Crossroads: Change in Rural America as a springboard for igniting our own stories, giving voice to our shared and individual experience of place. Space is limited; registration is on a first-come, first-served basis. Walk-in registration is welcome as long as space permits. Share it with your friends on Facebook! NOTE: marking yourself as "Going" on Facebook DOES NOT register you for Communal Pen. No previous experience necessary! We invite participants to view the exhibit before the workshop, and to pay special attention to those images and ideas that are most relatable you. On the day of the workshop, please bring a photo and/or object that has special meaning for you. This item will be used during a writing exercise.
The Communal Pen writing workshop is offered in conjunction with the traveling Smithsonian exhibition, Crossroads: Change in Rural America. Crossroads is presented through the Museum on Main Street (MoMS) program as part of the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service. MoMS provides access to the Smithsonian for small-town America through museum exhibitions, research, educational resources, and programming. Communal Pen is developed through the S.C. Arts Commission’s place-based initiative, Art of Community: Rural SC, a new framework for engagement, learning, and action in rural communities. The writing workshops are coordinated through the SCAC’s Folklife & Traditional Arts and Community Arts Development programs, with generous support from the S.C. Humanities Council. Enjoy Crossroads at Voorhees College through Dec. 9, 2018. The image at the top of this page is Old Sheldon by Varnville, S.C. artist Ment Nelson, who's no stranger to The Hub. Nelson celebrates his family, culture, and home community through his artwork. He is a Young Voice of the Art of Community-Rural SC initiative, and coordinator of the Creative Connectors, for the Create Rural SC project. On being an artist he says, “You never know who might be intrigued by your story.”
Deeply rooted in South Carolina, Communal Pen co-facilitator Eboni Ramm fell in love with the arts at a young age and was encouraged throughout her youth to express herself. Today, she is a gifted vocalist known for her special blend of timeless jazz classics with a pinch of poetry. Ramm resides in Columbia, where she conducts jazz poetry workshops in schools, libraries, and various learning centers. She serves her community as Richland Library's literary resident and as a teaching artist with ARTS ACCESS South Carolina and Youth Corps. She is a featured musician on SCETV’s education web portal, knowitall.org. Her publication Within His Star: The Story of Levi Pearson celebrates the ancestor who added strength to the unprecedented Brown vs. The Board of Education case. Learn more at www.EboniRamm.com. Communal Pen co-facilitator Michelle Ross is a folklorist and adjunct faculty in anthropology at the University of South Carolina Sumter. She holds a master's from the Folk Studies and Anthropology Department at Western Kentucky University. Ross embraces stories of all kinds. She helped establish the S.C. Center for Oral Narrative, through which she has co-created several writing workshops. Ross also works with the Mothers of Angels in telling and writing about grief from the death of a child, and has worked with veterans in telling and writing their stories. Her work has been published in The North Carolina Folklore Journal and an anthology of mother-in-law essays titled His Mother!; her poetry has appeared in Sandhill and The Petigru Review. For the past five years, she has been working on telling her Pontian Greek family’s refugee story, her most important project to date. Communal Pen coordinator Laura Marcus Green is Folklife & Traditional Arts Program Director at the South Carolina Arts Commission, where she manages several grant and award programs, and at the University of South Carolina’s McKissick Museum, where she develops programming in conjunction with folklife exhibitions. She holds a Ph.D. in Folklore from Indiana University and an M.A. in Folklore/Anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin. Selected prior positions include Community Engagement Coordinator for the Museum of International Folk Art’s Gallery of Conscience, and work as a folklife fieldworker and researcher, writer, curator and consultant for the Louisiana Division of the Arts Folklife Program, the South Carolina Arts Commission, the Iowa Arts Council, New Mexico Arts, and the Idaho Commission on the Arts, among others.  

Apply now for South Arts State Fellowships, Southern Prize

One of nine state winners will take home the $25,000 Southern Prize

Application deadline: Monday, Dec. 3, 2018
Applications are now open for the South Arts 2019 State Fellowships! Apply through December 3, 2018. South ArtsThe South Arts State Fellowships is a state-specific prize awarded to the artists whose work reflects the best of the visual arts in the South. A national jury will select one winner per eligible state, with artistic excellence being the sole criterion. A total of nine $5,000 South Arts State Fellowships will be awarded. Each state fellow will compete for one of the two South Arts Prizes: the $25,000 Southern Prize and the $10,000 Finalist. The Southern Prize winner will also receive a two-week residency at The Hambidge Center for the Creative Arts and Sciences. State fellowship recipients will be required to attend the awards ceremony, which happens to be in Columbia on April 15, 2019. Kate Hooray Osmond South Carolina's 2018 state fellow is painter and installation artist Kate Hooray Osmond of Charleston. Visit her website here. Jurors for the State Fellowships include Katherine Jentleson (Atlanta) and Radhika Subramaniam (New York City). Jurors for the Southern Prize include David Houston (Columbus, Ga.). An exhibition of works by the State Fellowship winners will be open between April 15 and May 5, 2019 at 701 Whaley in Columbia, South Carolina. The South Arts Southern Prize and State Fellowships acknowledge, support, and celebrate the highest quality artistic work being created in the American South. The program is open to individual artists living in the South Arts region: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. This program is open only to visual artists and will expand to other disciplines in the future. Eligible disciplines include crafts, drawing, experimental, painting, photography, sculpture, mixed media, and multidisciplinary. The application deadline is December 3, 2018. Applications are powered by The Hambidge Center. Questions or comments about this program? First consult the FAQs. If your answer isn’t there, please contact southernprize@southarts.org or call 404.874.7244 x10.
Ed. note: South Arts State Fellowships are not to be confused with the S.C. Arts Commission's $5,000 Individual Artist Fellowships, which are open this cycle to visual and craft artists, music composers, and performing musicians, and have received significant attention here since August. The application deadline is tomorrow.

Choreographer Alonzo King visits Governor’s School this week

World-renowned contemporary ballet choreographer Alonzo King will lead master classes and a free public presentation during a two-day artist residency this week at the S.C. Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities. During his residency, King (bio) will lead master classes in dance, drama, and music with Governor’s School students and 30 strings students from Wade Hampton High School. King will also give a free public multi-media presentation about his work this Thursday at 7:30 p.m. in the Sakas Theatre at SCGSAH (15 University St., Greenville, register here). King’s ground-breaking work has been featured in prominent ballets worldwide and has earned him inclusion on the list of America’s “Irreplaceable Dance Treasures” by the Dance Heritage Coalition in 2015. Founder of the internationally acclaimed LINES Ballet, he has been described as a choreographer with “astonishing originality” by the New York Times, and “a visionary choreographer, who is altering the way we look and think about movement." King has works in the repertories of the Royal Swedish Ballet, Frankfurt Ballet, Ballet Bejart, Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo, Joffrey Ballet, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Hong Kong Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, and many others. The San Francisco-based choreographer is one of two guests in SCGSAH's 2018-2019 Presidential Guest Artist Series—Connecting Lines: Dance Across the Arts.

ONE WEEK left for award noms and SCAC fellowship apps

Time is nearly out! One week from today, the window closes for two important S.C. Arts Commission programs. #SCartists to apply for $5,000 individual artist fellowships, which are grants honoring achievement in visual arts, craft, music composition, and music performance. Don't miss out! “These are unrestricted awards the Arts Commission uses to recognize artistic achievement by South Carolina’s exceptional artists,” SCAC Deputy Director Milly Hough said. That means artists can use the award to invest in their work with additional learning or supplies or use it to pay bills or buy groceries. The process is competitive, but completely anonymous, Hough said. The panel of judges comes from other states, but applicants must be U.S. and South Carolina residents with a full-time residence in state for two years before applying and plans to remain in-state through the fellowship period (July 2019 through June 2020). Get more information and apply by clicking on our ad below.


Nominations for the Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Governor's Awards for the Arts (right) are also due Thursday, Nov. 8. All it takes is one letter to start the process of awarding an artist, arts organization, business or foundation, government entity, individual, or arts educator/institution one of these prestigious awards for significant contributions to the arts in South Carolina . Don't wait. Find out more now! Hey, folk artists and advocates: Noms for the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Awards are due at the same time. Here's info on those.)
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Tuning Up: S.C. Humanities honors Goldstein, others

Good morning!  "Tuning Up" is a morning post series where The Hub delivers curated, quick-hit arts stories of interest to readers. Sometimes there will be one story, sometimes there will be several. Get in tune now, and have a masterpiece of a day. And now, in no particular order...


Governor's Awards in the Humanities. Yesterday, S.C. Humanities held a luncheon in honor of four distinguished new recipients of the Governor's Awards for the Humanities:
  • Anne Cleveland, director of the Charleston Library Society;
  • Bobby Donaldson, historian and educator;
  • Cecil Williams, celebrated South Carolina photographer;
  • and Sara June Goldstein, literary arts advocate and member of our team at the S.C. Arts Commission.
We're so proud of Sara June's exceptional work and that she received this honor. Here she is with Kim Shealy Jeffcoat (left), chairwoman of the S.C. Humanities Council; and Tommy Windsor (right), director of boards and commissions in the governor's office. We're down for this always. Just gonna leave this right here.

Evergreen (for now): Time is running out!

  • Nominations for the Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Governor's Awards for the Arts (right) are due Thursday, Nov. 8. All it takes to start the process of awarding an artist, arts organization, business or foundation, government entity, individual, or arts educator/institution one of these prestigious awards for significant contributions to the arts in South Carolina is one letter. Don't wait. Find out more now! (Noms for the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Awards are due at the same time. Here's info on those.)
  • Applications for $5,000 individual artist fellowships are also due Thursday, Nov. 8. Unrestricted awards will honor achievement in visual arts, craft, music composition, and music performance. Don't miss out!

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Tuning Up: New Doster sculpture + arts teacher honored

Good morning!  "Tuning Up" is a morning post series where The Hub delivers curated, quick-hit arts stories of interest to readers. Sometimes there will be one story, sometimes there will be several. Get in tune now, and have a masterpiece of a day. And now, in no particular order...


Spartanburg spreads the love. There's some new public art in Spartanburg with an unmistakable message. I Love You was unveiled yesterday in the city's Morgan Square. Students from the S.C. School for the Deaf and Blind spent a bit more than a year working with teaching artist Bob Doster, a metal sculptor and 2006 recipient of the Verner Award in the artist category, on the work – the American Sign Language signal for "I love you." An Arts in Basic Curriculum Project grant from SCAC helped make the collaboration possible. Speaking of the Verner Award, please see below. Florence One arts teacher takes home title. Another week, another big win for arts education in the school district: Moore Intermediate School arts teacher Sharri Duncan was named the district's 2018/2019 teacher of the year. (Last week, the district announced a massive investment in arts education, though the two news items are not related. - Ed.) When presented with her financial prize, Duncan – whose parents were both teachers – pledged to spend it on her students. Congratulations, Sharri!

Evergreen (for now): Time is running out!

  • Nominations for the Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Governor's Awards for the Arts (right) are due Thursday, Nov. 8. All it takes to start the process of awarding an artist, arts organization, business or foundation, government entity, individual, or arts educator/institution one of these prestigious awards for significant contributions to the arts in South Carolina is one letter. Don't wait. Find out more now! (Noms for the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Awards are due at the same time. Here's info on those.)
  • Applications for $5,000 individual artist fellowships are also due Thursday, Nov. 8. Unrestricted awards will honor achievement in visual arts, craft, music composition, and music performance. Don't miss out!

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S.C. Arts Commission offers $5,000 to state’s artists

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 24 October 2018

  • Fellowships are available to artists in four disciplines
  • Deadline to apply is Thursday, Nov. 8.
COLUMBIA, S.C. – It’s not a multi-state lottery win, but there are more recipients and they’ll at least get the full, stated value. Individual artist fellowships of $5,000 are awarded every spring by the South Carolina Arts Commission. The deadline to apply for the next year’s class of four accomplished artists is Thursday, Nov. 8. Four awards will be given to one artist in four different artistic disciplines: visual art, craft, music composition, and music performance. The different disciplines rotate, and it takes four years to complete a cycle. However, visual arts and craft awards are given every two years because of the volume of applicants. “These are unrestricted awards the Arts Commission uses to recognize artistic achievement by South Carolina’s exceptional artists,” S.C. Arts Commission Deputy Director Milly Hough said. That means artists can use the award to invest in their work with additional learning or supplies or use it to pay bills or buy groceries. The process is competitive, but completely anonymous, Hough said. The panel of judges comes from other states, but applicants must be U.S. and South Carolina residents with a full-time residence in state for two years before applying and plans to remain in-state through the fellowship period (July 2019 through June 2020). Applications may only be submitted online by midnight Thursday, Nov. 8. To learn more and apply, visit SouthCarolinaArts.com. Further questions can be answered by discipline coordinators at the arts commission: Harriett Green for visual art and craft (hgreen@arts.sc.gov or 803.734.8763) or Joy Young  for music (jyoung@arts.sc.gov or 803.734.8203).

About the South Carolina Arts Commission

With a commitment to excellence across the spectrum of our state’s cultures and forms of expression, the South Carolina Arts Commission pursues its public charge to develop a thriving arts environment, which is essential to quality of life, education, and economic vitality for all South Carolinians. Created by the South Carolina General Assembly in 1967, the Arts Commission works to increase public participation in the arts by providing services, grants, and leadership initiatives in three areas:
  • arts education,
  • community arts development,
  • and artist development.
Headquartered in Columbia, S.C., the Arts Commission is funded by the state of South Carolina, by the federal government through the National Endowment for the Arts, and other sources. For more information, visit SouthCarolinaArts.com or call 803.734.8696.

S.C. Theatre Association names three to its Hall of Fame

The South Carolina Theatre Association executive board announces three inductees in 2018 South Carolina Theatre Hall of Fame class. The hall honors South Carolinians who have made outstanding contributions, achieved careers of distinction, and are widely recognized as accomplished practioners of theatre. The SCTA Hall of Fame is awarded annually at the SCTA Convention. This year's inductees are:

  • Donna Wilson,
  • Douglas McCoy,
  • and Julian Wiles.

Donna Wilson holds a MFA in theatre, with a specialization in directing, and an MAT in theatre arts from USC. Recently retired as director of the Palmetto Center for the Arts (PCA) and theatre teacher at Richland Northeast High School, she earned her National Board Certification as an Early Adolescence Generalist and was Richland Northeast High School's 2001-2002 Teacher of the Year and a District Honor Roll Teacher of the Year. She is also a recipient of the Outstanding Theatre Educator Award presented by the South Carolina Theatre Association (SCTA) and is the recipient of SCTA's 2010 Lifetime Service Award. In addition, she received the 2010 S.C. Consortium for Gifted Education Award for Outstanding Professional Accomplishment, and more recently was named a 2015 TWIN (Tribute to Women in Industry) Honoree by the Palmetto Center for Women. Ms. Wilson has served as president of the S.C. Theatre Association, the Palmetto Dramatics Association, and the South Carolina Speech Communication Association and has been involved in numerous arts initiatives, including serving this year on the state's committee to revise the South Carolina Guidelines for Identification of Artistically Gifted and Talented Students. Her Richland Northeast theatre program, a winner of many awards and superior ratings, represented SCTA's High School Division at the Southeastern Theatre Conference in 2014 and 2013 and was selected five times (1998, 2002, 2004, 2007 and 2011) by the American High School Theatre Festival to perform at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland. Currently, she serves as Director of the Tri-District Arts Consortium, a summer program for artistically gifted and talented middle school students in Richland District Two, Lexington District One and School District Five of Lexington and Richland Counties. Douglas McCoy (posthumously) was the founding partner and executive/artistic director of Centre Stage-South Carolina! He directed over 136 mainstage productions at Centre Stage, including Mass Appeal, which in 1984 won first place locally in the SCTA Community Theatre Festival, regionally at the Southeastern Theatre Conference in 1985, and finally it was given fourth place at the Festival of American Community Theatre the same year. Douglas also worked in area high schools, Anderson Community Theatre, Clemson Little Theatre, New Arts Theatre in Asheville, Warehouse Theatre in Greenville, and The Greenville Savoyards, Light Opera Company. He has a minimum of 17 awards and honors for his productions and his work in the community, including city and county resolutions proclaiming Centre Stage a cultural asset to the community, an Elizabeth O'Neill Verner nomination, a Toastmasters International Communication Achievement Award, and a Jefferson Award, among others. He served on the board of directors of the American Association of Community Theatres, chaired the Community Theatre Division of SCTA, conducted theatre workshops for USC, Clemson, SETC, Perry Correctional Institute, and Upstate high schools and middle schools. During his tenure, Centre Stage produced five world premieres and twenty-one South Carolina premieres. Douglas' passion for theatre manifested in masterfully produced shows that were impactful to the audiences who were entertained, challenged, and sometimes pushed to the limits to look at issues that face humanity. His contribution and legacy can be seen today in the students he's inspired that are acting, teaching, and advocating in our communities. Douglas McCoy earned a place in our theatre community and should never be forgotten for his passion and commitment to the theatre arts. Julian Wiles founded Charleston Stage, Charleston's resident professional theatre company, in 1978. It has since grown into South Carolina's largest professional theatre and one of the state's largest arts institutions. Over the past 38 years, Wiles has directed and designed more than 200 productions and penned 27 original plays and musicals for the company. Wiles continues to serve as the company's producing artistic director, heading a staff of 25 full-time theatre professionals. Wiles, a South Carolina native, grew up on a cotton farm in Ft. Motte. He attended Clemson University, received a history degree from the College of Charleston in 1974, and an MFA in dramatic art from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1976. Wiles has written or adapted 27 original plays and musicals for the company including the boy who stole the stars, Nevermore! Edgar Allan Poe, the Final Mystery, The Seat of Justice, Denmark Vesey: Insurrection, Gershwin at Folly, Frankenstein: The Modern Prometheus, Helium and most recently, Inga Binga. Julian Wiles is a recipient of the 2010 Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Award, the state's highest honor in the arts awarded by the S.C. Arts Commission. Wiles is also a member of the Dramatists Guild. The 2018 South Carolina Theatre Hall of Fame inductees will be honored at a reception on Friday, Nov. 9 at Sullivan's Metropolitan Grill in Anderson, and the formal induction will take place at the Henderson Auditorium in the Rainey Fine Arts Center at Anderson University at 8 p.m. The SCTA Hall of Fame was started in 2016 with the first inductee being Dr. Phillip Hill. Other inductees to date are Sally Cade Holmes, Randall David Cook, Erskine C. Johnson III, Jack Benjamin, and Jim and Kay Thigpen.
For more information about the annual convention please visit www.SouthCarolinaTheatre.org

Jason Rapp

Hub follow-up: Bren McClain wins Willie Morris Award

In August, we told you about 2005 prose fellow Bren McClain being named a finalist for the prestigious Willie Morris Award for Southern Fiction. Today, we returned from lunch to some fantastic news: Yesterday, the award named McClain the recipient of its 2017 literary award for her novel One Good Mama Bone (Story River Books). McClain was honored yesterday evening at a ceremony at the New York Yacht Club where she received the award’s $10,000 prize. Author Ann Kidd Taylor received special recognition at the ceremony for the originality and insight of her novel The Shark Club. McClain is a native South Carolinian who now resides in Nashville. One Good Mama Bone is her debut novel and in addition to widespread acclaim was also a finalist for both the Southern Book Prize by the Southeastern Independent Booksellers Alliance and the 2018 Crook’s Corner Book. She is a two-time winner of the South Carolina Fiction Project. She is now at work on her next novel, Took, which received the gold medal for the 2016 William Faulkner –William Wisdom Novel-in-Progress. On learning that One Good Mama Bone won the 2017 Willie Morris Award, McClain said, "I wrote the book of my heart, held it up to the world and said 'Here's what I think is beautiful.' And for that beautiful to be honored in this glorious way is an humbling like no other." “Like all the best Southern fiction, One Good Mama Bone is about the mysterious, powerful bonds of family and the eternal longing for home,” says judge Clair Lamb. “Bren McClain finds the universal in a very specific story about two mothers — one human, one animal — equally committed to their offspring. It's a book that lingers in both the mind and the heart.”


Since its inception in 2008, the Willie Morris Award for Southern Fiction, founded by novelist Reba White Williams and her husband Dave H. Williams, has recognized annually a writer whose work is set in the South, exemplifies the tenets of Southern literature—quality of prose, originality, and authenticity of setting and characters—and reflects, in the words of Willie Morris, “hope for belonging, for belief in a people’s better nature, for steadfastness against all that is hollow or crass or rootless or destructive.”  Past recipients include Mindy Friddle, Stephen Wetta, Terry Roberts, Katherine Clark, and Kim Wright, 2016’s honoree for her novel Last Ride to Graceland. New to the ceremony this year was a panel of distinguished guests honoring the life and writings of Pat Conroy. The panel, moderated by Jonathan Haupt, executive director of the Pat Conroy Literary Center, included Conroy’s widow Cassandra King; president of Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Jonathan Galassi; and Willie Morris judge, past recipient, and author of Conroy’s oral biography My Exaggerated Life, Katherine Clark. “Our Willie Morris Award shows a similar interest to the Pat Conroy Literary Center, recognition of and promoting the best of contemporary southern fiction,” remarked Dave Williams.  “So, it seemed only natural that we collaborate with them on a panel celebrating those shared interests. We are pleased and honored to have had them play such a special role in this year’s award ceremony.” The Willie Morris Awards also announced news of its expansion with the Willie Morris Award for Southern Poetry, which will include a prize of $2,500 for an original, unpublished poem that exudes the American South in spirit, history, landscape, or experience. The inaugural poetry award, judged by Susan Kinsolving, will be given in 2019 during the 2018 Willie Morris Award ceremonies. Reba and Dave Williams were inspired to create the Willie Morris Award for Southern Fiction in 2008 after Reba learned that her two nieces in high school in Charleston had never read Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. Reba, who was born in Mississippi and raised in North Carolina, remembered how her own introduction to classic Southern novels as a young student sparked a lifelong love and appreciation for Southern literature and its unique style, elaborate prose, evocative language, and sense of place. Envisaging the future of the Southern literary tradition, Reba decided that Southern writers and novels—especially contemporary works—deserved more attention.  The result was the Willie Morris Award, named for celebrated Southern writer and long-time Williams family friend Willie Morris.  A native of Yazoo City, Miss., Morris was a journalist, editor-in-chief of Harper’s magazine, and author of several novels set in the South, some of which remain required reading in public schools in his home state. Authors, agents, publishers and booksellers are invited to submit books for consideration. The winner is selected by a prestigious panel of academics and writers, including previous award winners.  In addition to the $10,000 prize, recipients receive an all-expenses-paid trip to New York City to attend a luncheon and reception in their honor, joined by nearly 100 members of the Southern literary community and New York City publishing community. The Willie Morris Award for Southern Fiction is now accepting submissions for the 2018 prize, to be awarded in 2019.
For more information about The Willie Morris Award for Southern Fiction, including submission guidelines, please visit https://williemorrisaward.org/.

Governor’s School senior among world’s top young poets

The Poetry Society announces The Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award 2018 winners


When The Poetry Society announced the top 15 winners and 85 commended poets of the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award 2018 at a prize-giving ceremony at the Southbank Centre, Royal Festival Hall in London, a young South Carolinian found her name on the list. S.C. Governor's School for the Arts and Humanities senior creative writing student Maggie Olszewski from Columbia was named a 2018 Foyle Young Poet by The Poetry Society.  She is one of 15 selected from 6,000 contenders worldwide and her poem was chosen from 11,000 submissions. She is the only American winner. She fell in love with poetry in the second grade, when she first read Falling Up by Shel Silverstein. She loves walking around in the woods, doodling, and having intense discussions about superheroes. She has won regional awards for her poetry from Scholastics and has had two poems published in Jasper magazine. Organised by The Poetry Society and generously supported by the Foyle Foundation, the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. Held annually since 1998, the Foyle Awards is one of the largest literary competitions in the world and a defining award for young poets, in some cases kick-starting the career of some of today’s most exciting voices in poetry. The 2018 competition attracted nearly 11,000 poems from nearly 6,000 poets from around the world, including all postcode areas of the UK. Writers from 83 countries entered the competition, including Armenia, Botswana, Cambodia, Eritrea, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and for the very first time, Uruguay.
From the thousands of poems entered, this year’s judges Caroline Bird (a Foyle winner in 1999 & 2000) and Daljit Nagra (BBC Radio 4’s Poet in Residence and also a Foyle judge in 2008) selected 100 winners, made up of 15 top poets and 85 commended poets. Caroline spoke of the way the winning poems came alive on the page:

“The poems that embedded themselves in my mind were those with a strong, original idea. They jumped out because they felt new and vivid; cinematic and alive, like they weren’t documented on the page they were occurring on the page.

“I can still see the images in my head... You instantly feel like you’ve been ushered into an original world – the poet’s world. Or sometimes it was about the way they looked at a situation, with x-ray eyes... that gazed under the surface of the ordinary.”

Daljit was impressed by the maturity of thought and writing from the younger winners:

“I was pleased to read so many outstanding poems by children under 15 years of age. This shows the excellent health of poetry across the ages; the last time I judged, a decade ago, nearly all the winners were late teens. Our young poets forced their way into the final 100 through the sheer vigour of the voice.

“I was also impressed by the maturity of the work we read; so many of our young poets showed a keen awareness of serious issues such as identity politics, environment issues and the global tensions currently between nation states. I really felt our young poets were keen to explore the perilous state of our world through poetry; they seem to regard verse as a valid form of expression for serious ideas.

“Our young poets seemed keen to pay respect to traditional forms, good lineation and stanza forms as a way of developing their imaginative arguments. This was highly impressive.”


Winners of the award receive a fantastic range of prizes to help develop their writing. The top 15 poets (age dependent) are invited to attend a residential writing course where they spend a week with experienced tutors focusing on improving their poetry, or receive poetry workshops at their school. All 100 winners of the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award receive a year's membership of the Poetry Society and a goody bag stuffed full of books donated by our generous sponsors. The Poetry Society continues to support winners throughout their careers providing publication, performance and development opportunities, and access to a paid internship program. The top 15 poems will be published in a printed winners' anthology (also available online) from March 2019. The 85 commended poems will appear in an online anthology. Both anthologies are distributed free to thousands of schools, libraries, reading groups and poetry lovers across the UK and the world. The Top 15 Foyle Young Poets of the Year 2018 are:
  • Suzanne Antelme, 16, Surrey
  • Mathilda Armiger, 16, Norfolk
  • Caitlin Catheld Pyper, 13, Newcastle upon Tyne
  • Maiya Dambawinna, 17, Leeds
  • Suki Datar Jones, 17, London
  • Olivia Hu, 17, British Columbia, Canada
  • Angela King, 15, London
  • Sammy Loehnis, 12, Oxfordshire
  • Cia Mangat, 16, London
  • Maggie Olszewski, 17, South Carolina, USA
  • Em Power, 15, London
  • Elizabeth Thatcher, 16, London
  • Lucy Thynne, 17, London
  • Sophie Thynne, 15, London
  • Georgie Woodhead, 15, Sheffield

Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award

Foyle Young Poets of the Year is the largest and most prestigious award for young poets aged 11-17 writing original works in Egnlish. The competition is free to enter and poems can be on any theme, and of any length. Winners are published in an anthology, and benefit from a range of professional development opportunities offered by The Poetry Society. Foyle winners are also offered paid internships, and editorial opportunities via The Poetry Society’s online platform the Young Poets Network, www.youngpoetsnetwork.org.uk. To read profiles of former winners, read the full rules, download lesson plans and enter online, visit foyleyoungpoets.org.

The Foyle Foundation

The Foyle Foundation is an independent grant-making trust supporting UK charities which, since its formation in 2001, has become a major funder of the arts and learning. The Foyle Foundation has invested in the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award since 2001, one of its longest partnerships. During this time it has trebled its support and enabled the competition to develop and grow to become one of the premier literary awards in the country. Online: foylefoundation.org.uk

The Poetry Society

The Poetry Society was founded in 1909 to promote a “more general recognition and appreciation of poetry”. Since then, it has grown into one of Britain’s most dynamic arts organisations, representing British poetry both nationally and internationally. Today it has over 4,000 members worldwide and publishes Britain’s leading poetry magazine,The Poetry Review.  With innovative education and commissioning programs, and a packed calendar of performances, readings and competitions, The Poetry Society champions poetry for all. Online: poetrysociety.org.uk