People, it's time to vote! One day left to take part in the final stage of Write Out Loud's poetry competition to aid NHS

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This the last day of voting for the People’s Choice award in Write Out Loud’s Beyond the Storm poetry competition in aid of NHS Charities Together’s Covid-19 urgent appeal. Make sure you don't miss out before the 11.59pm deadline tonight! Six poems have been picked out by our award-winning judge Andrew McMillan from the 2,381 entries we received. The top six poets, in alphabetical order, are: Deborah Ballantyne (‘Newly Qualified’);  Ruth Beddow (‘Dungeness’);  Paul Francis (‘Short-term investment’); Caroline Griffin (‘Occupation: Lockdown April 2020’); Lawrence Illsley (‘Corn Chandelier’); and Paul Williams (‘Wet Washing’).

 Andrew McMillan has chosen an overall winner but we are keeping his decision secret until you’ve given your opinion. The six poems are read for us by BBC Casualty actors Olivia D’Lima, Kirsty Mitchell and Gabriella Leon; and emerging actors from ALRA North, Jacob Butler, Rhiannon Clements and Noah Olaoye. Watch them all, then please vote for your favourite one, before midnight tonight. And please hit the donate button, too, to help us reach our target of £10,000 (only £2,500 to go!). 

We thank all the established and emerging actors - Kirsty, Gabriella, Olivia, Noah, Rhiannon, and Jacob – for helping us with our People’s Vote during this precarious time for theatre.

Why have a People’s Vote, as well as a judge’s verdict? Andrew himself supports the idea, saying: “I want this [competition] to bring in serious, considered poetry, but also to have a broader, public appeal, to boost donations at this most critical time in NHS history.”

There’s a further chance to help the fundraising appeal – by ordering a copy of our Beyond The Storm anthology of winning poems and almost 100 longlisted poems. You can pre-order a copy here, now




Background: The names and poems of all the poets in the Beyond the Storm anthology

Background: 'We love you NHS'

Background: Where the money you've been donating will go 




◄ Award-winning performance poet changes name to Kae Tempest

'Try to write every day, even for 10 minutes' - Finola Scott ►


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