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Last Updated: Friday, 23 April, 2004, 11:54 GMT 12:54 UK
Poet Bryce wins national contest
Colette Bryce
Colette Bryce's new collection is coming out later this year
Colette Bryce has won top prize in the 2003 National Poetry Competition, beating more than 9,000 other entrants.

The Derry-born poet will receive a 5,000 cheque at an awards ceremony in London on Friday for her winning effort, The Full Indian Rope Trick.

The poem, on the theme of identity, was chosen by writers Paul Farley, Grace Nichols and Medbh McGuckian.

"That my poem was chosen by three poets whose work I admire has added to the good news," said Bryce.

Click here to read an extract from the winning poem

Bryce found out she had won the award in January but the news was only made public earlier this week.

"I sent off a few poems in a moment of optimism in October, so the telephone call in January came as a bit of a shock," she said.


James Manlow took second prize with The Lazy Maid, with Kate Bingham's poem Eighteenth coming third.

Colette Bryce began writing poetry in her 20s after graduating from university with a degree in English Literature.

She did various jobs including teaching English in Spain, book-selling and editing before her first collection, The Heel of Bernadette, was published in 2000.

It received the Aldeburgh Prize for best first collection and the Eithne Strong Award in Ireland.

Bryce is a fellow in Creative Writing at the University of Dundee.

The National Poetry Competition was established in 1978 by The Poetry Society.

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Extract from The Full Indian Rope Trick

Guildhall Square, noon,
in front of everyone.
There were walls, bells, passers-by;
then a rope, thrown, caught by the sky
and me, young, up and away,

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15 Oct 03  |  Arts


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