Worcestershire County Council has announced the 15 finalists of its coveted Word Up competition – the search to find the county’s second young poet laureate. The 2011 winner Laura Dedicoat has had a fantastic year and is now established as one of the region’s best young poets.

Finalists will now be preparing to take part in the competition’s grand final to be held at Number 8 Theatre in Pershore on 27 January, where they will be asked to perform their poetry in front of a live audience and a panel of judges.

The judging panel, made up of Ruth Foster, Steve Wilson and Julie Andrews from the County Council, supported by professional poet Matt Windle, will be looking for someone with a unique talent for poetry who will embrace the role of Worcestershire’s Young Poet Laureate and promote poetry to others throughout the county.

Entrants were asked to write one poem on the subject of Games and another on any other topic. Over 50 entries were received by the judges and the short listing process has been described as ‘very tough’ by the one of the competition’s organisers, Natalie McVey.

Natalie said: “We’ve received a fantastic range of entries to our Word Up competition; all sorts of styles, themes and topics have been explored by our county’s budding poets. It has been a joy to read and judge them all, but was very tough to get them down to just 15.

“This competition has been a great way to encourage young people to explore their local library, get creative, improve their writing and hopefully catch the poetry bug.

“Everything’s set for a wonderful final!”

As well as taking the title of Worcestershire’s Young Poet Laureate 2012, the winner will receive a trophy and will be commissioned to write and perform poetry. They will also have their own poetry mentor for the year to support them through their role as the young poet laureate. Duties throughout the year will include acting as a poetry champion to encourage and inspire others to enjoy poems, write poems to celebrate special events in Worcestershire and perform at literary events.

For more information contact Steve Wilson, County Arts Officer on 01905 765754 or Natalie McVey, Service Development Coordinator on 07876 144905.