Roche Reading Prize 2019 awarded to Beatrix La’Da

The theme of this years’ competition was ‘Beauty’ and the entrants certainly delivered some beautiful renditions of a variety of classic poems.

Iris Mickleburgh began with a sensitive and emotive reading of Thomas Carew’s Unfading Beauty, swiftly followed by a reading of the same poem by an equally expressive George Bersey. The same poem delivered concurrently highlighted to all the ways in which poetry can be conveyed in a plethora of ways dependent on the readers’ interpretation and subsequent delivery.

Next, Katie Head read Wilfred Owen’s moving poem Beauty, displaying an eloquence and confidence in her delivery. Beatrix La’Da then delivered a similarly poised and considered rendition of Chaucer’s Rondell of Merciless Beauty. Last, but by no means least, was Anna Baker’s delivery of John Keats’ A Thing of Beauty, a choice inspired perhaps by her recent trip to a Keats museum in Italy. Once again, the delivery was clear and measured which added to the already difficult task of selecting a winner.

A huge congratulations to all involved in what was once again an enjoyable competition that certainly raised the bar for next years’ contestants. It was interesting to note that participants chose the more traditional poems from the selection (which were arguably more complex to deliver) and it was tremendously pleasing to witness them handle this challenge with maturity and confidence.

This years’ winner is Watson’s Beatrix La’Da.