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Manchester Writing School graduate wins poetry prize

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By Jacqueline Grima

Manchester Writing School MA graduate Ian Humphreys has recently been announced as the winner of the 2016 Hamish Canham Prize. Ian won with his poem ‘Zebra on East 55th and 3rd’.

The prize was established in 2004 by Sheena and Hugh Canham, named after their son Hamish, a gifted writer and psychotherapist who died in 2003. The judging panel includes staff members of The Poetry Society.

Ian, who has previously won the PENfro Poetry Competition, was delighted to hear that he was this year’s winner. He said, “Writing can be a solitary, uphill slog, so it’s lovely to get a bit of recognition now and again and to be told you’re kind of heading in the right direction.”

He added, “I’d written about a deer walking nonchalantly through Manhattan for an exercise that required us to put an animal in an unusual setting. I changed the animal to a zebra for extra contrast and to introduce an even more bizarre feel. The idea of it disappearing into a zebra crossing at the end of the poem came later and tied in well with the competition theme. When I read it now I see the zebra as a metaphor for a homeless person – someone invisible to mainstream society.”

To read Ian’s winning poem, click here.

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Jacqueline Grima

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