Local schoolgirl wins poetry prize | University of Oxford

Local schoolgirl wins poetry prize

A student from Oxford Spires Academy has won this year’s Christopher Tower Poetry Prize.

The Christopher Tower Poetry Prize, based at Christ Church and in its thirteenth year, attracted 614 entrants aged 16-18 from 313 schools.

Oxford Spires Academy student Azfa Ali, aged 18, was awarded the £3,000 prize for her poem ‘Origins’, which followed the competition’s theme of ‘The Details’. Sarah Fletcher, who won last year’s competition, took second place, followed by Erin Tunney. Also shortlisted were Kathryn Cussons, Luke van den Barselaar and Eva Wallace.

Oxford Spires Academy opened in January 2011 on the site of Oxford School in Glanville Road and serves the local community of Cowley in East Oxford. A recent article reported that more than 50 per cent of the school’s 760 pupils have English as a second language.

The winning poems will be published on the Tower Poetry website. The competition is just one of the initiatives developed by Tower Poetry at Christ Church to encourage the writing and reading of poetry by young adults. Other projects include summer schools, poetry readings, conferences, an ongoing publication programme and website, which is used as an educational resource in schools.

The website has plenty of information and discussion about poetry, including Oxford University’s Professor of Poetry Sir Geoffrey Hill in discussion with Dr Peter McDonald, a poetry expert at Christ Church.