Posted: 7 October, 2021

Ahana is Top 15 winner of the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award 2021.

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We are delighted to announce that Ahana B in Year 13 has been named as one of the Top 15 winners of The Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award 2021.

Run by The Poetry Society with the support of the Foyle Foundation, this is the 23rd year for the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award which, since 1998, has been finding, celebrating and supporting the very best young poets from around the world. The award is now firmly established as a leading competition for young poets aged between 11 and 17 years old.

This year there were 14,408 poems entered by 6,775 young people from 109 countries as far afield as Argentina, Egypt, Kenya, South Korea and the Seychelles, and every corner of the UK making Ahana’s achievement even more impressive.

Ahana’s poem entitled A Difficult Conversation combines humour with more serious subject matter.

“I wanted to pay homage to my Indian heritage in this poem; in itself it is a small tribute to my love of Indian ingredients and the important role food has in bringing family together.”

“Being told I was a Foyle Young Poet was an extremely validating moment. I’ve been writing poetry for a few years now and I’ve always felt my work was just shy of being alright, but entering the competition gifted me with a lot of confidence. Poetry is such an accessible form and can manifest itself in so many interesting ways and Foyle Young Poets of the Year is a celebration of that diversity which I am really honoured to be a part of.”  Ahana B (Year 13)

The top 15 poems will be published in a printed winners’ anthology (also available online) from March 2022.

The 85 commended poems will appear in an online anthology. Both anthologies showcase the talent of the winners and are distributed free to thousands of schools, libraries, reading groups and poetry lovers across the UK and the world.

A Difficult Conversation

by Ahana Banerji

Ma says she has bigger fish to fry.
Disregarding sprats, the white fish,
she hoists up an ilish mach about the length
of her forearm. I watch her accept it
with her knife, oil puckering
in the saucepan, anticipating
skirts of damp coriander,
a fat chalk of canned coconut milk.
There is a tenderness to the beheading.
Ma cradles ilish jaw like a son-in-law,
an absence dislocating
bone and lip and eye
as I am told to leave or to learn
how to hold a heart
for the time it takes bigger fish to fry.

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