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Poetry School Partnership

The UK’s Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty are very proud to partner with Poetry School on the Laurel and Ginkgo Prizes.

Our partnership developed after we commissioned Poet Laureate Simon Armitage to write Fugitives to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the passing of the legislation which established Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. (The video below features Simon Armitage reading Fugatives). 

Simon founded the Laurel prize in 2019, as an annual award “for the best collection of nature or environmental poetry to highlight the climate crisis and raise awareness of the challenges and potential solutions at this critical point in our planet’s life.”

The Ginkgo Prize dovetails with the Laurel Prize as an equivalent award for single poems on the same theme.

AONB teams are all too aware of the need to act to defend the ecosystem of which we’re all part. The Colchester Declaration, made at the Landscapes for Life Conference in July 2019 sets out the firm commitments we have made jointly to redress the losses we have seen in recent years. Our partnership with Poetry School forms part of this commitment.

While nature keeps us alive, it also adds colour to the life we live. The Laurel and Ginkgo Prize poems express the sense of awe nature can bring; from the tiniest spore to incredible unlikeliness of a whole planet so perfectly balanced that life can flourish, and what we stand to lose if we don’t act to retain this balance.