Your vote could help this talented young Norfolk poet to national success
- Credit: IAN BURT
He never had the chance to get to know him properly but when 14-year-old Dillon Jarvis sat down to write a poem at school he knew where he would get his inspiration - his late grandfather.
Now the youngster from Swanton Morley has had his poignant prose selected for the final of a national poetry competition.
Dillon, a pupil at Northgate High School in Dereham, decided to focus his poem on his grandfather's love of birdwatching for the competition organised by Young Writers.
He was initially pleased to hear that his entry, Denizens of the Air, had been selected for a poetry anthology but said he did not expect to be chosen out of 32,000 entries as one of 12 finalists in with a chance of being crowned the 2013 Poetry Games Champion.
'My grandad used to be a birdwatcher,' he said. 'He passed away and I never really met him but he gave me some inspiration and I decided to write my poem about birds. I chose different birds but the last three paragraphs are about a dove and how its life goes on.
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'Most of us in my class got in the book but I was walking home from my grandmother's house one day and she came out of her house and shouted for me. I didn't know what was going on but she told me to come back inside. I thought I must be in trouble and then she shoved a piece of paper at me from school. It said I was in the final.
'I didn't know what to say because I had never really written any poetry before but I told my teacher Miss Kaufmann and she was really pleased and has been giving me loads of support.
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'They told everyone in assembly so lots of children have come up to me and said they will vote for me. I am representing the whole of East Anglia so I am in a bit of awe.'
Dillon, who said English was one of his favourite subjects at school, had to record a short film of his poem for the public head-to-head vote on the Young Writers website.
He said it was 'a bit rushed' and sees him sitting on the stairs in the school's English block.
'We ran out of time to do anything more with it,' he said. 'But I want the poem to speak for itself and not to win because people are blown away by an awesome video. That's not what it is about.'
The voting is now open and closes on Friday, January 17. The public can vote for one finalist only, once a day, every day until the closing date.
The winner will be announced on Monday, January 20 and will receive an iPad. All the finalists will receive a Kindle.
Young Writers editor Donna Samworth said: 'Picking the finalists was a tough job and all the editors are involved in selecting them. We've watched the videos and wow, they've all done such a good job. It's lovely to see young adults getting involved in poetry and they have certainly brought their words to life.'
* To cast your vote follow the link at the top right of this page.