Major prize for teenage poet

Luke van den Barselaar receiving his runners up prize

Luke van den Barselaar receiving his runners up prize - Credit: Archant

Wizard performance commended as Colyton Grammar School student is named runner up at ‘Harry Potter” venue

A Colyton Grammar School student has won a major cash prize in a national poetry contest.

Luke van den Barselaar, 17, was named runner up in the Christopher Tower Poetry Competition for his poem Research.

It is the second year that Luke has featured in the final stages of the contest – last time he was on the ‘long-list’ of contenders but just missed out on a prize.

The competition is in its 13th year and is one of the most prestigious poetry prizes for under 18s in the UK. Some 614 students entered, representing 322 schools.


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Luke was invited to Christ Church College, Oxford, where he was photographed and interviewed in the dining hall, which is used in the hit series of Harry Potter films, accepting the award, along with the other prize-winners.

Luke, the only male in the final six, received a ‘significant’ cash prize for his poem.

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He said the experience was ‘surreal’, adding that it was “a really good day”.

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