A talented pupil at Mount St Mary’s College wins prestigious poetry competition

A talented pupil at Mount St Mary’s college has been crowned a national winner in a prestigious poetry competition.

Ella Watts, 16, a boarding student at the Derbyshire Catholic school, was one of 10 students to be awarded the Simon Powell poetry competition prize after entering a Poetry Live! day in Sheffield.

The youngster is following in the footsteps of leading Victorian poet Gerard Manley Hopkins, who taught at Mount St Mary’s in the 1870s.

She was also awarded the Manley Hopkins poetry prize at the school’s prize- giving day earlier this year.

Ella said: “I was shocked and delighted to be one of the national winners in the Simon Powell Poetry Prize. Not only because of the chance to attend a workshop with Daljit Nagra, perform at one of the Poetry Live! events and get a set of signed anthologies, but because of the opportunity to get my poetry recognised and acclaimed.

“There are some great, inspirational poets around at the moment, bringing it back to life as an art form.

“My poem, ‘The Lamb’, was all about the history of poetry, the way it’s always been a part of our culture, and the juxtaposition of this grand, colourful tradition with normal life.”

Ella and her brother Kit, 13, originally from Clowne, Derbyshire, are both full-boarders at Mount St Mary’s.

Helen McKell, Ella’s English teacher, said: “Congratulations to Ella. She is a really talented individual and a very worthy winner of this prize. To be selected as a winner in a national competition is an incredible achievement and we are really proud of her.

“All our Year 11 pupils attended the annual Poetry Live! day in Sheffield.
“It is one of a number of events held at various venues throughout England, which are a great way to get young people writing and have really helped to make poetry accessible to thousands of school children over the last 10 years.”

Mount St Mary’s College, a co-educational, boarding and day school on the Nottinghamshire, South Yorkshire and Derbyshire borders.

Founded by the Jesuits in 1842, Mount St Mary’s College is a Catholic school but welcomes students from other traditions.