Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Competitions! - John Dougherty

I love chocolate, don't you? And especially, I love fairly traded chocolate.

I'm also very fond of poetry, so you can imagine how pleased I was when the splendidly-bearded Philip Ardagh suggested to those lovely people at Divine Chocolate that they might ask me to join the judging panel for this year's Divine Poetry Competition.

Before you get all excited - the closing date has passed, the judging has happened, and I've eaten quite a lot of free chocolate. But I thought you might like to see some videos of me reading the winning entries.

Here's the winner in the 7-11 category, by Connor Hellings:

Here's the 12-16 winner, by Lloyd Hunter: 

And here's the winner in the adult category, by Philip Howard:

If I seem a bit tired and emotional as I do any of the readings, it's partly because it was an INCREDIBLY hot day, and I filmed these videos straight after the judging process; and partly because one of the things I was looking for in the poetry was a bit of an emotional kick - and I found that. I was genuinely moved by some of what I read. The line in Connor's poem about riches being clean water and the chance of an education still makes my eyes water a little.

Anyway: I hope you enjoy the poetry - and though I don't normally advertise on ABBA, I hope you'll pop into your local Oxfam and buy some Divine chocolate, too. Not only is it extremely tasty; the company is owned by the farmers who grow the cocoa that goes into it, so it's an unusually fair form of fair trade.

Oh - and keep an eye out for next year's competition!

While we're on the subject of competitions - if you know any children who would like to be an actual character in a real book, I'm currently working on the fifth Stinkbomb & Ketchup-Face, and we're running a competition with that as a prize! More details here:


John's first collection of poetry will be published by Otter-Barry Books next year.

His latest book, Stinkbomb & Ketchup-Face and the Bees of Stupidity, illustrated by David Tazzyman and published by OUP, was published on July 2nd.


Dawn Finch said...

Fantastic! Chocolate and great poetry - what's not to like?

Nick Green said...

Those are all fantastic. Not surprised you got emotional, John. And Connor's especially is amazing for someone of his tender years.

Emma Barnes said...

Really enjoyed your readings, John! I've just been judging a competition and reading the winners too ( so was interested to see how your did it. It's very uplifting.