Dylan at 100
A Prologue to an Adventure is the prestigious international creative writing competition celebrating Dylan Thomas’s 100th birthday. It is part of Literature Wales’ Developing Dylan 100 education project, which is bringing the wizardry of Dylan Thomas’s words to the children and young people of Wales and beyond through creative workshops, a cutting-edge roadshow, and an online event to create an epic, 100-line poem.
Below is the winner of the Best Overall category, Bryony Campbell.
Best Overall | Bryony Campbell
To see how you can get involved and to book a Developing Dylan creative writing workshop click here
A woman figure without fault
In response to the poem 'The Hunchback in the Park' by Dylan Thomas
She stands before me. Her arms are tattooed
quietly with five-day-old words, the breadcrumbs
mark leftover punctuation, useless.
Fingers are stretched in question – why?
I was early.
Before the water sat silent, and the young trees stood tall,
and before that shackled cup stowed the children’s
sharp-edged stones, she was here. Waiting.
And so, hunched against the wind, the voices,
I search for her shape in the sky.
Her voice shivers into hearing, in hesitance.
Hey mister – she says, hey mister.
Almost boyish. It fades now,
with the deadened steps of shoe on soil.
How she teases me.
She is indefinable, her form is milky,
changing underneath all those colours – yet
she is fixed, straight, real. Grown from the grass,
sown by memory, as tangible as the leaf carcasses.
And I see her, from behind locked eyelashes.
She is a woman figure, broken
and tenuous, the flour still colouring her hair
and cheeks, her apron still crinkled in a smile.
She exists within the fabric of the air, and she is
Bryony Campbell is a 17-year-old writer currently completing her final year of secondary school in her hometown of Wellington, New Zealand. She tends to be a late night writer – her best poems often 'mushrooming from a single thought after ideas have had time to mill and mingle in the air of a walk around [her] neighbourhood'.
Bryony was particularly inspired by the line 'A woman figure without fault' in Dylan Thomas’s poem ‘The Hunchback in the Park’, hence the title of her poem. She was interested in telling a story from the Hunchback’s perspective and delving into his thoughts.
Bryony’s other writing highlights include winning the Senior Category in the 2010 New Zealand Puffin Short Story Awards with her story ‘Bric-a-Brac’, and placing second in the Middle Division of the Scenario Writing Competition at the International Future Problem Solving Conference held in Wisconsin, USA in 2010. Her poem ‘Just another sketch’ was a runner up in the 2013 New Zealand National Schools Poetry Award. She attended a poetry workshop at the International Institute of Modern Letters at Victoria University of Wellington in August 2013 as part of the prize package, and was inspired to pursue and continue to write poetry.