Deadline for entries is 26 October, at which point regional winners will be chosen and invited to read their poems at an awards event at Parliament Buildings, Stormont, on 2 November. The overall winner will then be announced in front of the invited audience.
Beverley Brown, general manager of Funeral Services Northern Ireland, will be a judge, alongside BBC arts and culture broadcaster Marie-Louise Muir; chair of Publishing NI and managing editor of Blackstaff Press Patsy Horton; and poet Paul Maddern.
Beverley Brown remarked: “Caring is at the heart of Funeral Services Northern Ireland and this competition allows us to give a voice to people who want to honour those they care about. We’re excited to be launching our first poetry competition in celebration of National Poetry Day and look forward to reading entries from aspiring poets.”
Paul Maddern said of poetry’s contemporary relevance: “The eulogy is one of the most relatable forms of poetry. Not everyone has read The Iliad but most people can recall a eulogy that had the power to touch them and make them think fondly of someone they cared about.”
Patsy Horton concluded: “This Funeral Services Northern Ireland poetry competition is a fantastic opportunity for aspiring poets to showcase their work, and Publishing NI is delighted to be a part of it. Northern Ireland is rich in literary history and we hope entrants will be able to draw on this inspiration when it comes to submitting their work.”
Funeral Services Northern Ireland invites entries from poets aged 18 and over who are residents of Northern Ireland and are currently unpublished. There is a prize fund of £950.
Full competition details can be found online at www.fsni-nationalpoetrycomp.co.uk