Norwich sixth-former is named the first ever Young Norfolk Laureate

Joe Webb, the first Young Norfolk Laureate. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Joe Webb, the first Young Norfolk Laureate. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

Meet Joe Webb - the talented 17-year-old poet who has been named the first ever Young Norfolk Laureate.

Joe Webb, the first Young Norfolk Laureate. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Joe Webb, the first Young Norfolk Laureate. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

Joe, a student at City of Norwich Sixth Form, received the title after his poem Peripheral Vision wowed the judges of the Young Norfolk Writing Competition at this year's Young Norfolk Arts Festival. Joe will now undertake an ambassadorial role for young writers in Norwich – England's first UNESCO City of Literature – and as well as receiving poetry mentoring he will be given the chance to perform at various events over the next year including the launch of the 2018 Young Norfolk Arts Festival.

Joe said he was very proud to be named Young Norfolk Laureate and looking forward to the opportunities ahead.

About his winning poem, he said: 'It is quite confessional and honest, and everyone's first reaction to reading it is that it is really angry and sad, but I see it as bittersweet.'

While Joe, who is studying A-levels in English literature, psychology and geography, is still deciding on the career he wants to pursue, he is keen to keep honing his writing skills.


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'Getting better at writing - that's my number one ambition. Everything I do I write in an honest way. I want to keep it very true and real,' he said.

There were more than 150 entries into the competition and a further five winners were also praised at the competition's award ceremony at Norwich Arts Centre. They were: Amelia Platt from Litcham School, Anoushka Apelian from City Academy, Barez Suliman from Open Academy, Ellen Flower from Taverham Sixth Form, and Anna Wasse from Norwich High School for Girls.

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Sophie Scott-Brown, Writers' Centre Norwich participation and learning manager, said: 'It is a pleasure to see Joe Webb named as the first Young Norfolk Laureate....Joe's poem, Peripheral Vision, impressed judges with its brutal honesty and raw emotion. Joe is a deserving winner, but what has become very clear in running this competition is the astonishing amount of creative energy to be found amongst so many young people in our region – something we should all be celebrating and working to encourage.'

The competition is a partnership between Norfolk County Council, Writers' Centre Norwich and Young Norfolk Arts Festival. Read the winning entries at www.writerscentrenorwich.org.ukAn extract of the poem Peripheral Vision by Joe Webb

self-reflecting like my broken mirror –

another numb young'un wishing the end was nearer

don't fit in here.

in fact the painful opposite -

i'd love to have forgotten but i'm afraid there's no stopping it,

the hurt.

greedy guilt's come for another visit,

hungry kissing, something's missing

my spirit flickering

like my fitting in.

identify anonymous.

powerful people don't need hearts,

it looks like they've forgotten us.

damp sentiments.

nothing meaningful between us

only emptiness,

not believable or deeper than

blank prejudice.

we speak in echoes,

sleep better than ever now that i've let go

cardboard people from the get-go

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