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Kaiti Soultana is Poetry by Heart Champion 2013
Wed 24 Apr 2013
18yr old Bilborough College student Kaiti Soultana has triumphed in the finals of the national poetry recitation competition, Poetry By Heart, which was supported by NAWE.
In front of a packed Ondaatje Theatre in the National Portrait Gallery on Saturday 20 April Kaiti recited an extract from Sir Gawain and the Green Knight in the original fourteenth century alliterative English and Elizabeth Bishop’s “The Fish”.

Distinguished judges from the worlds of poetry, education and the media led by Sir Andrew Motion were unanimous in declaring Kaiti the winner and described her performance as “simply extraordinary”.

It was a proud moment for Jane Bluett, NAWE Committee Member and teacher at Bilborough College, who accompanied Kaiti to the event.

The previous day the 2013 champion had won her Midlands regional heat and in the final was up against seven other finalists all of whom had come through school, college, county and regional rounds in a competition that involved thousands of students and teachers from Cornwall to Cumbria.

The sixth form college student said: “I chose Sir Gawain because I wanted to explore something I had never explored before. I wanted to immerse myself in something very different.”

Forty one young people aged between 14 and 18 took part in the finals over two days in London. In addition to reciting their poems and supporting fellow competitors as audience members students enjoyed a range of activities including tours of the National Portrait Gallery and the British Library and a trip to the London Eye and the Hard Rock Café.

Before announcing the winner and presenting Ms Soultana with a specially commissioned trophy, Sir Andrew Motion commented upon the exceptionally high standard of recitation displayed by students as they shared poems they had clearly “taken to their hearts”. The performances of the competitors, he added, had confirmed in powerful and moving ways that “sound and sense are inseparable”.

Julie Blake, Co-director of “Poetry By Heart”, which was launched at the end of last year with funding from the Department For Education paid tribute to, “…the hundreds of teachers from all over the country in schools and colleges who have supported the competition with such energy and passion.”

Education Secretary Michael Gove said:

“I am delighted that so many pupils from across England participated in the Poetry By Heart competition. I would like to congratulate them all. To know a poem by heart is to own a great work of art forever. Through Poetry By Heart’s inspiring programme more children than ever will carry poetry with them all their lives.”

Contact Information:
National Association of Writers in Education
Contact Name:
Pau Munden
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