Sunday, April 17, 2016

A love of life: winner announced for the 2016 Hippocrates Young Poet Prize for Poetry and Medicine

Catherine Wang from Hong Kong has been awarded the 2016 Hippocrates Young Poet £500 Award for Poetry and Medicine for her poem Six pills. 
Catherine is currently a sophomore at Chinese International School, Hong Kong. Her creative achievements include placing 2nd place in the 2015 Hong Kong Top Story awards and being shortlisted for the 2010 and 2013 Hong Kong Young Writers' Awards. 

r Catherine Wang.jpgCatherine Wang

About her poem Six Pills  she said: "I was diagnosed with Lupus, an autoimmune disease, when I was eleven. At the time, I understood little about my body and even less about what was wrong with it. In 'Six Pills', I wanted to capture the intimate landscapes of both experience and the unknown, and how the two converge in times of change. For me, this change was the point in treatment when the pills, fevers, and medical terms became inseparable from being. Writing this poem was an attempt at leaving fear behind.”

Also competing for the £500 Young Poets award were Mia Nelson, from Denver, USA for love under the scalpel, Audrey Spensley, from Avon Lake, USA for 3 poems: Dissection, Requiem for a Surgery Scar and Variations on a Craniotomy, and Amy Wolstenholme from Salisbury in England for words in the bone.

The awards were announced by Leslie Morgan OBE, DL and Tony Ahearne, patrons of the healthy heart charity the Cardiovascular Research Trust, which is supporting the 2016 Hippocrates Young Poet Award. 

Leslie Morgan said: "We are very pleased that the Cardiovascular Research Trust is supporting this year’s Young Poet Award in the Hippocrates Prize for poetry and medicine. This Young Poet Award is an excellent way to encourage young people from around the world to take an interest in their health through poetry and I am delighted that we shall continue our support for this major award in 2017 and 2018.”

Young poets 2016.jpg

Back row from left: CVRT Patrons Leslie Morgan OBE, DL, Prize organisers Donald Singer and Michael Hulse,  and CVRT Patron Tony Ahearne.
Front from left: young poets at the awards -  Amy Wolstenholme and Norviewu Dzimega.

Honorable mentions were awarded to 5 young poets: Cara Nicholson from Oundle, England for An Unwanted Visitor, Alana McDermott from Oldham, England for Letters Upon The Sea, Ally Steinberg from New York City, USA for The Jacks, Norviewu Dzimega from Orpington, England for I am and Naabil Khan from London, England for My Scars.

This year’s awards were judged by poet Siân Hughes. who announce the winner at an Awards Ceremony in London on Friday 15th April.

Judge Siân Hughes said: “Reading a young writer's work is always a huge responsibility.  Misunderstanding someone, missing the point, is such an unkind, unfriendly thing to do, especially to the young, and no one is more exposed than when they open themselves to the page.

“These young writers take on stories of illness, fear and loss, staring into some of the hardest words in the language with honesty and courage.  What struck me about all of these mentioned, was that they showed a love of words as well as a love of life.

“Those who tackled the subject of mental illness - self-harm, eating disorders, hallucination - took on a challenge as brave as those who grappled with the technical language of cancer treatments.  I was moved by words about the agonies of acne and the madness of first love as well as by stories of hospital corridors and waiting rooms.”

The international Hippocrates Prize for Young Poets is for an unpublished poem in English on a medical theme by poets aged 14 to 18 years from anywhere in the world. The 2016 Prize attracted entries from Canada, England, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Philippines, Scotland, South Africa, Taiwan and the USA.

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