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February 24, 2010

Details of Cecil Day Lewis Literary Awards Competition

Entries are invited from all primary and secondary schools in County Kildare to enter the  annual Cecil Day Lewis Literary Awards competition.

The competition  consists of students entering under the various sections:-  Short Story, Poetry and One Act Play. 

The competition, organised by Athy Heritage Centre-Museum and sponsored by Kildare County Council and Athy Town Council, celebrates the connection between the celebrated poet and the South Kildare area. 

C.D Lewis was Professor of Poetry at Oxford from 1951-1956.  A talented and humorous man, he wrote in An Italian Visit, parodies on poets ranging from Hardy to Dylan Thomas. His autobiography was published in 1960, and in 1966 he was awarded Poet Laureate. 

Trophies, Book tokens and Certificates are given to 1st ,2nd & 3rd in each category. We also give out  Highly Commended certificates.

Closing date for entry is Friday 19th March 2010. 

The Rose of Tralee will officiate at this years awards ceremony which will take place Wednesday evening  28th April 2010.

Entry forms can be downloaded from the website or contact Margaret Walsh, Athy Heritage Centre-Museum, Emily Square, Athy, Co. Kildare. Phone 059 8633075

Profile of Cecil Day-Lewis

Cecil Day-Lewis Cecil Day-Lewis, born in 1904 was the son of a Church of Ireland Minister, then living in Ballinturbbert House, Athy, Co. Kildare.  He was educated in Sherborne School and then Wadham College, Oxford.

He was a schoolmaster until 1935 and during that time his restless intellect led him into writing detective fiction.   He wrote under the pen name Nicholas Blake, introducing the detective Nigel Strangeways in A Question of Proof, which was followed by twenty popular and successful stories.

Given the political and social turmoil between the wars years, like many intellectuals of his day, he leaned more and more towards Marxism, joining the Communist party in 1936.  He edited the Socialist Symposium The Mind in Chains, which took place in 1937.

His frequent broadcasts were a joy to him and he enjoyed giving recitals and lectures in schools and colleges.  He sat on committees, judged awards and his enthusiasm embraced children’s stories for radio and he wrote a number of children’s’ books including the popular Poetry for You.

His pride in accomplishment and his craft in the writing of poetry and prose make him an excellent example for aspiring writers and we are proud that these awards were  established  for poetry, short story and the one-act play.  It is good to know that his talents survive in his sons Sean and Daniel and his daughter Tamasin, who spend considerable time in Ireland.