Jack Thacker

Jack Thacker is the winner of this year's Charles Causley International Poetry Competition for his poem 'The Load'.

Jack grew up on a farm in Herefordshire. He lives in Bristol, where he is studying for a PhD on contemporary poetry and agriculture at the Universities of Bristol and Exeter. His poetry has appeared in PN Review, The Clearing and The Literateur and has been commissioned by the Bristol and Bath Festival of Nature and the Bristol Nature Channel. He is the co-founder of the University of York-based poetry magazine Eborakon and is a board member of the Bristol Poetry Institute.

The Charles Causley Trust is delighted to announce that this year’s entries to the poetry competition came from a diverse range of poets, both established and emerging. The Trust noted a considerable increase in the number of international entries, and the panel of shortlisting judges – Dr Kym Martindale, Dr Luke Thompson, and Charlotte Walker, writer-in-residence at Cyprus Well, spent a day at Charles’ house reading and discussing the poems before selecting a shortlist to send to Head Judge, Sir Andrew Motion.

The Trust looks forward to welcoming the first prize winner Jack Thacker to Cyprus Well for a week long residency opportunity to work on his writing and explore North Cornwall. Awarded second and third place were Joanne Key and Liz Breslin whose poems will be published on the Trust’s website this week.

Joanne Key lives in Crewe in Cheshire where she writes poetry and short fiction. Her poems have appeared in various places online and in print including The Poetry Review, Bare Fiction, The Interpreter’s House, Prole, And Other Poems, York Mix, Clear Poetry, Three Drops From a Cauldron, and Ink, Sweat and Tears. She won 2nd prize in the 2014 National Poetry Competition. She has yet to publish a first collection.

As a child in the UK, Liz Breslin memorised Charles Causley’s poems, sitting in the bath. She now lives in Hawea Flat, New Zealand and writes poems, plays, stories, articles, and a fortnightly column for the Otago Daily Times. She also edits, parents, partners, skis badly, gardens sporadically, coordinates a school student volunteer programme, drinks too much coffee and loves getting her feet wet.

Liz’s first collection of poems, Alzheimer’s and a spoon, will be published by Otago University Press in 2017. She is comfy on the page and the stage, was second runner up in the 2014 New Zealand Poetry Slam in Wellington and did an audience-response poem at the 2016 TEDx Queenstown. Liz took part in the ‘52’ project in 2014, where she discovered new voices and fantastic practices. Her poems can be found in Landfall, Café Reader, Takahē and other places in NZ, overseas and online, as well as brewing in the bath. Poems give her hope, connection and stoke. www.lizbreslin.com

The Trust also selected five highly commended poets to receive mentoring from a Cyprus Well writer in residence and a small cash prize in recognition of their talents, they are:

  • ‘A Gap In The Field’ (Victor Tapner)
  • ‘Portrait Of Us As Snow White’ (Theresa Awonuga)
  • ‘Le Nez’ (Jill Munro)
  • ‘A Romp in Brompton Cemetery’ (Tony D’Arpino)
  • ‘The Earth of Cumberland is my Earth’ (Kerry Darbyshire)

The Trust would like to thank all those who entered and send our congratulations to the winners and look forward to sharing the winning poets and poems with you in the coming weeks.