UCL News


Poetry prize winner

24 April 2007

A poem about Lindisfarne, the small rocky outcrop off the Northumbrian coast in North East England,  better known as Holy Island, has secured PhD student Richard Barnett top prize in a writing competition.

Barnett, who is in his final year at the Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine at UCL, received the Promis Prize for authors under the age of 26 in the poetry section of the London Writers' Competition.

The poem is part of a larger cycle entitled 'Seahouses' which explores the history and landscape of Northumbria. This area of  the country is steeped in history - the Venerable Bede lived in the area and the Lindisfarne Gospels were produced on Holy Island - as well as having some of the most beautiful scenery in the British Isles. Barnett became fascinated with the area after spending many childhood holidays in the area, and has since drawn on it for inspiration with his poetry.

Barnett is no stranger to success - his poetry has been published in various magazines and shortlisted for several competitions. However, he believes the Promis Prize may really kick start his poetry career: "It's a very prestigious competition to have won and I hope it may generate some interest in my work, so I can eventually get a book published."

Despite his literary ambitions and the fact that he has been writing poetry from an early age, Barnett has no desire to give up his research. He is nearing the end of his PhD into the history of obstetric anaesthesia and has just accepted a research contract in the department.

To read Barnett's award-winning poem, use the link at the bottom of this article.


Holy Island (pdf)