Winners Announced of Inaugural Leeds NHS Teaching Hospital Trusts Poetry Competition

The winner of the first Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust staff poetry competition was announced by Simon Armitage, Poet Laureate and Professor of Poetry at the University of Leeds.

The theme for the competition was ‘A poem for our times’ and it attracted entries from across the Trust, in roles varying from clerics to consultants. The winner was Resourcing Officer, Mischa Atkinson, whose entry, ‘An Immigrant’s Poem’, reflected on the nature of belonging.

Simon Armitage said, “It was great to be involved in this competition. People often turn to poetry in times of their life that are significant and meaningful. I enjoyed the glow of optimism that shone through the entries and it feels great that poetry could offer the opportunity for those working in the NHS to have an outlet. I liked what has happened here, a truth has come out.”

The competition was set up in partnership with the University of Leeds Poetry Centre, with the four judges – John Whale, Kimberly Campanello, Modupe Hector-Goma, and Daniel Park – coming from both organisations.

Clare Smith, Chief Operating Officer for Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and a writer herself, said; “It has been a tough couple of years and reading through the poetry entries has been such an enjoyable experience. I am incredibly proud of what our teams do every day in their jobs, and even more so with this competition, proud of the honesty and bravery that colleagues have shown in putting pen to paper and sharing their creative works.”

The three finalists were presented with a signed copy of Simon Armitage’s latest book The Owl and the Nightingale. There is a plan to publish the poems of the winners together with those of the other entrants.