Poem about South Yorkshire coal miner by Julie Andrews’ daughter wins £5,000 award

Emma Walton Hamilton, daughter of legendary film star Julie Andrews, has won The Bridport Prize £5K Poetry Award.

Thursday, 25th November 2021, 2:03 pm

Emma’s poem, Over the Tannoy, is a conversation across time with her great grandfather, a South Yorkshire coal miner.

Emma lives in the US and has written a number of children’s books with her mother but writes poetry ‘purely for myself’.

The Bridport Prize is judged blind and this year’s poetry judge was Raymond Antrobus MBE FRSL who said it was ‘the toughest competition I’ve ever judged’.

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Emma Walton Hamilton

He described Emma’s poem as ‘a form to inspire more writers to delve into family archives. It’s a new kind of found poem, a new way of speaking to and from a lineage’.

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Emma said: "To have submitted the poem anonymously without any indication of my name, my relationship to my mother, just the words on the page and then to win was the greatest gift I could have been given. And hopefully it has cured me of my imposter syndrome.”

In its 49th year, The Bridport Prize was begun and continues to help fund Bridport Arts Centre. Passionate about discovering writing talent from around the world, previous winners include novelist Kate Atkinson MBE, Kit de Waal and Deepa Anappara. Many writers have launched their careers with The Bridport Prize and ended up on the best sellers list.

Novelist, Kate Atkinson said: “I have enormously fond memories of the Bridport Prize. It gave me one of the first affirmations that I could write. The story I wrote for the competition was the first time I felt I found that elusive thing – my ‘voice’.”

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Liam Hoden, editor.