Alana Kelsall describes the impact of entering and winning the 2014 Ada Cambridge Poetry prize.

‘When I entered the Ada Cambridge Poetry Competition, I had just come back from the UK with an ill son, trying to adjust to the heat and cleaning houses for a living. No wonder I escaped in my writing to another time, place and situation!

My poem, At what distance does it stop, was about a struggle I had faced twenty years before. I had gone back to Japan to meet my ex to try and understand the reasons for our break up. In writing the poem, I felt I had overcome something in myself. This, coupled with the win, has given me the confidence to work on a novel about my life in Japan and that relationship.

It was so wonderful to win. This is not a poor me story but a confirmation of how much prizes matter to writers. Since then I have found other work, my son has recovered and I have kept sending my work to magazines and competitions.

The Ada’s not only provide encouragement to the winners and those who are shortlisted. They also provide much needed exposure in the form of a yearly anthology. This is a great opportunity for writers and it’s free to enter’.

Applications for the Ada Cambridge writing competitions close on Sunday 1 March 2015.

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