Ink Sweat & Tears is, once again, the proud supporter of today’s Poetry Day at UEA’s Festival Of Literature for Young People (FLY)  and we are also very pleased to be able to bring you the winners of 2019’s writing competition which this year was exclusively devoted to Poetry.  The theme was a poem of any length beginning with the word ‘Afterwards’.

Judges Jeremy Noel-Tod, Lewis Buxton and Jos Smith received so many poems that they had long discussions before deciding the final winners.

The winner of the 12–14 category and the overall winner is: Rebekah Bongers from Reigate Grammar School.




After the party.
Cups shoved into plastic bags.
Balloons let down, discarded.
Empty packets line the swelling bin.

The next morning.
Rubbish truck shunts into view.
Bags swung in.
Drives off to next collection.

Truck overloaded.
So much waste for one area.
Pulling into temporary home.

Seagulls screech in excitement.
Rubbish pours onto the heap.
Soon torn apart by crazed birds.
Mountains of waste.

Plastic bottles crushed together.
Small packets roll around.
Plastic bags blow everywhere.
Straining to be free.

Several bags escape.
Spread everywhere.
One is caught by a crying gull.
Another is blown into a forest.

One falls into the sea.
Tossed by large waves.
Travels far and wide.
A painful trap.

Shoals of fish swerve in unison.
Sharks avoid the bright plastic..
Turtle swims to it cautiously.

What happens afterwards?
We kill animals.
We put that bag in the bin.
Think twice.


The runner up in the 12-14 yr old category is Megan Valerie-Cooke from Wymondham High Academy.

The winning poem for the 15-18 yr old group will be featured on IS&T tomorrow and the runner up announced.