On a sunny and bustling September Saturday on London’s South Bank, Inpress Books celebrated their tenth anniversary with a Poetry Garden Market. An online sales outlet representing small publishers, Inpress displayed their wares in front of Foyle’s bookshop on a stall stacked high with poetry and flowers. There was also an improvised lawn scattered with deckchairs where people sat and listened to readings. Workshops were laid on for aspiring writers throughout the day.
The early evening saw The London Magazine’s editor, Steven O’Brien, announce the winners of a poetry competition on the theme of ‘Indian Summer’ that had been receiving entries in the run-up to the event. Steven had read the shortlisted entries and selected a winner and two runners up a few days earlier so that each was able to travel to London to read their winning poetry.
In third place was Ellen Phethean with ‘Late Song’; second was Avril Joy with ‘September, after Rain’. The overall winner was Fiona Ritchie Walker with ‘Northern Territory’. Each winner received a ‘poetry bouquet’ (flowers tied with a card quoting a line from the Inpress publishers’ poets) and a Foyle’s gift card. Walker’s poem will be published in the forthcoming October/November issue of The London Magazine.
The evening concluded with wine and cake (made by Inpress’s director, Rachael Ogden) and much discussion of the prize-winning poets, of the teaching of Creative Writing and of forthcoming literary festivals. Torbay next month, anyone?