Huge congratulations to Lower Sixth Form pupil, Gabriella Sills, who was selected by judges Malika Booker and W.N. Herbert as one of the 85 Commended Foyle Young Poets of the Year 2016, a competition run by the Poetry Society. Gabriella was selected from over 6,000 entrants from across the world, an amazing and impressive achievement.

The Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award is for poets aged 11-17. Since it began 19 years ago, the Award has kick started the career of some of today’s most exciting voices. It is the largest competition of its kind and each year, 100 winners (85 Commended and 15 Overall Winners) are selected by a team of high profile judges. They receive a range of book prizes, membership to the Poetry Society and continuing support from the Society.

Gabriella’s poem was inspired by her grandmother’s experience of living in Nazi Germany just after the war.

My Grandmother’s LiberationGABBIE SILLS

She is silent and numb, too angered

to speak yet too embarrassed

to cry out, as she knows how many others have

already endured far worse suffering.

The soldier drags her down the corridor,

his firm grasp creating rolls in her skin,

but her mind wanders

to the irony of this army’s liberation.

The door shuts, enclosing their bodies

in the musty room filled only by

the vague shafts of sunlight.

She begins to weep.

The Russian falters in his fumbling,

she can see how young he is as he turns

away into the light, despite this pause

she cannot stop her tears.

The boy turns back, patting her gently

on the head and calming her broken breath.

They stand in the dark without talking.

He explains, having stayed long enough,

his friends will assume he did the same as them.

My grandmother watches him leave and now

she stands alone.