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On Friday, November 11th, Remembrance Day, the awards ceremony was held for the nationwide poetry contest organized by the British Embassy.
The competition started exactly one year ago, in November 2015, and by May 2016, deadline for the submission of poems, more than 500 entries had been received from all over Greece and from all ages from 12 to 78 years. The Jury, who undertook the difficult task of evaluating the poems were: the poetess Alicia Stallings, the Professor at the Centre for Greek Studies of the King’s College, London David Ricks, the author Miltos Fragopoulos and the writer and poet Haris Vlavianos, who headed the Jury.
The poems that won first prize were recited by the Minister of Culture Mrs. Lydia Koniordou.
The bodies co-operating with the British Embassy in organizing the competition were the British Council, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation and the National Bank of Greece Cultural Foundation, which donated the prizes. For the awards ceremony the B & M Theocharakis Foundation for the Fine Arts and Music made available the auditorium that it has on its premises.
Speaking of the competition, the British Ambassador, Mr. John Kittmer said: “In its activity for the centenary of the First World War, the British Embassy in Athens is keeping alive the memory, promoting education and addressing young and old through a poetry competition. Poetry can be a help to us. In Greece poets have been writing about conflict since Homer first began to declaim the Iliad. We hope that by bringing to Greece through this competition the voices of the British wartime poets of that day we will be able to ponder not only what our ancestors did here but also the causes and solutions of current conflicts.”
The President of the Jury and writer Mr. Haris Vlavianos made the following comment on the nationwide poetry competition:
“It was an appropriate initiative, and an excellent one, to celebrate the power of poetry against the forces of destruction, but at the same time it also reminds us how fragile is the compass of humanity.”
The six first and second prizes for pupils and adults who participated with original poems in Greek and English were awarded by the representative of the sponsor Mr. Evangelos Chronis, Member of Executive Council of the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation.
The National Bank of Greece Cultural Foundation awarded the first and second prizes for the best translation into Greek of one of the British poets of the First World War. The Director Mr. Dionysis Kapsalis, presented the awards and the Jury made three commendations for poems of particular distinction.
The prize-winning poems will be published in a special edition of the “Poiitiki” periodical for the art of poety. The prize-winners were as follows:
Category 1 – Students
Original Poems in English
Original Poems in Greek
Category 2 – Adults
Tranlsation of a British poet of the First World War