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Christian Ward, London Independent Story Prize 2024 1st Competition, Poetry Winner

London Independent Story Prize 2024 1st Competition, Poetry Winner 'Viewing Antiques With My Father' by Christian Ward


- Can you please tell us about you and your daily life?

I'm recuperating for cancer treatment for a rare type of lymphoma and the spinal injury it caused. It can be extremely painful, so a lot of my time is spent resting. I try to write when I can, though. 


- When and how did you get into writing?

At university. I studied English and Creative Writing and really enjoyed the Creative Writing modules on offer. I tried everything from drama to postmodern poetry and it helped hone the skills I use. 


I have recently been published in journals such as Acumen, The Shore, The Westchester Review, Dream Catcher, Dodging the Rain and elsewhere. Some of my competition successes include being longlisted for the 2023 Aurora Prize for Writing, getting shortlisted for the 2023 Ironbridge Poetry Competition and 2023 Aesthetica Creative Writing Award, and winning the 2023 Cathalbui Poetry Competition.


- How often do you write? Do you have a writing routine? And what inspires you to write?

I try to write every day if possible. I don't have a routine – I believe in just getting the piece down and redrafting later on. Sometimes taking the first step is the hardest. 


What inspires me are my own personal experiences, nature, and the surreal. There is something quite funny about the latter and I enjoy exploring it. 

 

- How does it feel to have your work recognised?

It is a nice feeling and I am extremely humbled every time I am published or placed in a competition. There are a lot of very talented writers out there and it's always wonderful to be in their company. 


- What's the best and most challenging thing about writing Poetry? 

The best thing about writing a poem is capturing a moment or feeling in a short space of words. There is something quite satisfying when you've written something that hits the spot. 


The most challenging thing is probably the editing. What do you cut? What do you leave in? It can be extremely nerve wracking at times. 


-  How did you develop the idea for your LISP-selected story? Is there a story behind your story? And, how long have you been working on it?

My poem is based on childhood holidays to France and visiting numerous antique fairs with my father. I drew on the things I saw and the feelings they brought up. Once I got my idea, I wrote it quite quickly before redrafting. One challenging aspect was the ending, I wasn't sure how I wanted to leave it. I ended up rewriting it several times before being happy with it. 


- Can you please give us a few tips about writing Poetry?


  • Don't worry if it's not 100% perfect.

  • Enjoy what you write – the reader will pick that up when they read your piece.

  • Be specific wherever possible.

  • Think about the figurative language used in a poem – is the simile or metaphor too clichéd or far-fetched?

  • Reread every line out loud to hear where it stumbles and where it flows well.


- What's the best thing and the most challenging thing about competitions? 

The best thing about competitions is the feeling that someone has read your poem and enjoyed it enough to shortlist/longlist/award it a prize. 


The most challenging thing about competitions is that the standard can be extremely high. This can create self-doubt and other negative feelings. It's important to remember that entering alone is a major step. Even if you don't win, a complete stranger will have read your poem and felt something about it.


- Lastly, do you recommend the writers submit to LISP?

Yes! The LISP team are very friendly and this is a great competition that every writer should enter. There is something for everyone, no matter what you write. 



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