Page last updated at 13:07 GMT, Tuesday, 19 August 2008 14:07 UK

Poetry prize awarded at festival

Edinburgh International Book Festival
Edinburgh International Book Festival is based in Charlotte Square

One of the largest-ever prizes for a literary competition in Scotland has been awarded at the Edinburgh International Book Festival.

The inaugural Edwin Morgan International Poetry Competition's 5,000 first prize was awarded to Kate Miller for her poem, After the Ban.

The Cambridge University graduate beat off competition from 1,000 entrants.

The prize was launched by Scots poetry society Vital Synz and was sponsored by Strathclyde University.

The award was supported by Edwin Morgan OBE, Scotland's national poet and one of the most prominent writers of the 20th century.

It's a superb initiative, rooted in Scotland and reaching out to the world, in the same spirit as our own festival
Catherine Lockerbie
Edinburgh International Book Festival

The winners were announced by Edwin Morgan's publisher, Professor Michael Schmidt, at a ceremony at the ScottishPower Studio Theatre in Edinburgh on Sunday night.

Dr David Kinloch, co-founder of Vital Synz, said: "The quality and volume of entries we have had for this competition are a testament to the vibrant health of poetry in 2008.

"Kate Miller's entry exemplified the original, distinctive voices we were looking for.

"She is a worthy winner and has set an excellent example for future winners to follow."

Catherine Lockerbie, Edinburgh International Book Festival director, said: "I'm really delighted that we have been able to support and host the inaugural awards in the Edwin Morgan International Poetry Competition.

"It's a superb initiative, rooted in Scotland and reaching out to the world, in the same spirit as our own festival.

"The winners are of a very high standard and I have every expectation that this will grow into a major and highly respected annual occasion."

Creative writing

The second prize of 1,000 was awarded to Wayne Price for his poem Vacanti's Mouse.

Born in South Wales, he is a published poet and short story writer who has won prizes at the Bridport International Short Story and Bridport International Poetry Competitions.

He teaches literature and creative writing at the University of Aberdeen.

The third prize of 500 was won by Arthur Leung, for What the Pig Mama Says.

Born and raised in Hong Kong, with degrees from the Universities of Hong Kong and Cambridge, he has been published in numerous anthologies and was a finalist for the 2007 Erskine J. Poetry Prize.

The judging panel included award-winning poets Colette Bryce, Donny O'Rourke and Richard Price, who gave readings at the awards ceremony.

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