International success for young Warwick writer

Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award Winner 2014 - Daniella Cugini (17, Warwick)
Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award Winner 2014 - Daniella Cugini (17, Warwick)

A Warwick teenager has been named as a top young poet after her verses were chosen in an international competition run by the Poetry Society.

Daniella Cugini was invited to the Royal Festival Hall in London where her stream-of- conciousness style poem was one of 15 selected from a record 7,603 submitted this year.

Sponsored by Foyle’s bookshops, being named as a Young Poet of the Year still hasn’t entirely sunk in for Daniella, who lives just off the Myton Road and is a pupil of King’s High School for Girls.

On Tuesday she said: “I feel like this is happening to someone else and not me.

“I do write a lot of poetry, sometimes one a day, usually they are more about capturing a state of mind than any particular subject.

“In this case I submitted a diary of my day starting at 11:17 and called the poem Picture You Freak.”

Or rather: picture you freak, because stylistically Daniella is not too fond of capital letters - or commas for that matter.

Not that this got in the way of her being named as “one to watch.” Or for that matter stopped her also being named runner-up in another competition - Amnesty International’s Young Human Rights “Reporter of the Year.”

Among Daniella’s poetic inspirations are Sylvia Plath and Emily Dickenson. When she finishes her A-levels she hopes to go on to study for a degree in English literature.

Judges for the competition - now the bigest in the world - were Grace Nichols and Simon Barraclough who had to chose winners aged between 11 to 17 from entries coming in from not only the UK but 77 other countries including France, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, India, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Canada and the USA.

Author and former Children’s Laureate Julia Donaldson, creator of The Gruffalo, named the 15 overall winners, whose work was praised for its “hauntingly arresting” qualities exploring everything from the mundane to the magical with equal panache.

Another 85 of the poems submitted received commendations.

Daniella’s entry begins with an abstract stream-of-conciousness style of free-flowing non-capital letter stanzas that starts: “it is not actually possible to watch this much masterchef in one week. gordonramsay is etched onto my retinas, his jaw contorts. there is no escape. wifi is inevitable. I could flee this earth but will the seabass still be raw in fourth dimension....”

Among her prizes is a week at a prestigious Arvon Centre. To read the full poem visit