We had a great time in Omagh last night for the first ever poetry slam at The Omagh Literary Festival: Honouring Benedict Kiely. We were very much uncharted territory for us, so we were delighted and impressed by the quality of poetry on display.
Congratulations go to Nathan Elout-Armstrong (pictured front centre), our slam winner, whose poem on why you should never date a poet just pipped an excellent showing from runner-up John Harding and fellow finalists Paddy Montague and Sarah Grimes.
A big thank you to Strule Arts Centre for providing an excellent venue for us, and to the board of the festival for inviting us to host the slam, especially Gerard McCabe who assisted us with judging. Special thanks also to Omagh poet Aine MacAodha who was our guest reader and fellow judge, who gave an excellent reading of her work to an appreciate hometown crowd.
Nathan Armstrong: "I'm deeply grateful to the lovely people at Poetry NI, Strule Arts Centre, Omagh and everyone who came along to The Omagh Literary Festival: Honouring Benedict Kiely. It was the first slam of its kind ever to be held in Omagh, and nobody could have asked for a warmer, more lively inaugural event. Winning the competition was fantastic of course, and I'm really proud. Almost as proud as I am to be a part of such a thriving and vibrant, creative community. It's great to see the Arts going from strength to strength. Long may it continue."
Margaret Geelan, Festival Director: "Many thanks to Poetry NI for hosting our inaurgural Poetry Slam at our Literary Festival in Omagh on Saturday night. We were very pleased to have such a good turn out and to be entertained by the participating poets with such a great variety of poems. We hope to have Poetry Slam again at our festival next October. Congratulations to Colin and Geraldine and all the poets."