Funeral Services Northern Ireland National Poetry Competition
Chair of the Judges: Paul Maddern
Paul Maddern was born in Bermuda and lived in Canada, the USA, and England before moving to Co Down in 2000. In 2009, he was a winner in the Templar Poetry pamphlet competition with Kelpdings. His subsequent collection, The Beachcomber’s Report (Templar: 2010), was shortlisted for the Eithne and Rupert Strong Award for Best First Collection and he is the recipient of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland's SIAP and ACES grants.
He established the Seamus Heaney Centre Digital Archive as part of his PhD with the School of English at Queen’s University Belfast, where is he has served as Creative Writing Tutor for the Seamus Heaney Centre.
2014 FSNI National Poetry Competition Winner: Mark Cooper
Mark Cooper became the overall winner of Funeral Services Northern Ireland’s National Poetry Competition last year with his poem 'First Catch.' The theme for 2014's competition was 'Remember' and Mark chose to write about an experience of going fishing with his father.
Colin Dardis, Poetry NI
Colin Dardis is a poet, editor, creative writer tutor and arts facilitator, based in Belfast, Northern Ireland. His work has been published in numerous anthologies, journals and zines throughout Ireland, the UK and the USA.
Colin runs Poetry NI, in which he is the editor of FourXFour, an online journal focusing on poetry from Northern Ireland. Pen Points Press, a poetry micro-press founded by Colin, launched at the Belfast Book Festival 2014. He also runs Purely Poetry, an open mic poetry night in the Crescent Arts Centre, Belfast. In January 2015, Colin became the new online editor for Lagan Press.
Damian Smyth, Arts Council Northern Ireland
Damian Smyth is deeply involved with the arts in Northern Ireland, with projects such as “One CIty One Book NI 2014″, as well as throughout Europe as part of the Corners European Xpeditions. He has published many works including both plays and his own poetry collections.
2013 FSNI National Poetry Competition Winner: Ross Thomspon
Ross Thompson, having won the competition in 2013, returns as a judge once more. The Judges felt there was a great energy to his poem, and that it was eerie and interesting with a a use of unusual language. The Judges loved the line, “The moon appeared to ripple as if reflected / in a bucket…”. They felt like this exploded in the middle of the poem. Ross has since gone on to launch his first pamphlet, Slumberland, published with Pen Points Press, and is currently working on other poetry projects.
Beverley Brown, Funeral Services Northern Ireland
Beverley Brown joined the senior management team of James Brown & Sons, Funeral Services Northern Ireland, in 2007, after returning home to Belfast from managing a leading UK fashion store on London’s Oxford Street and was appointed to the role of General Manager in 2010. Responsible for the overall running of 19 funeral homes across Northern Ireland, Beverley has a management team of 13 and a staff of 120. She managed the inaugural ‘Carer of the Year’ Awards for James Brown & Sons and oversaw the opening of a new funeral home in Newtownards and the redevelopment of the branch in Larne.Committed to local community engagement, Beverley was involved in more than 400 community events in 2011 and the company won the Co-Operative Group’s ‘Community Event of the Year’. Beverley is a Mentor for The Prince’s Trust.