Grace Lee, a Year 13 student at Auckland International College has won the National Schools Poetry Award for 2015. She won it for her poem ‘Eileithyia’ which she says was inspired by the timeless ritual of birth.

“I’ve been interested in writing and reading poetry for a long time,” says Grace, “and thought poetry would be a great medium through which I could look at the idea of femininity and how it has changed over time.”

The judge, poet and Victoria University Teaching Fellow Cliff Fell, says: “ ‘Eileithyia’ is about the most universal of all things – being born. The title refers to the Greek goddess of childbirth and the poem renews the ancient rituals and rites relating to childbirth by seeing them through young, contemporary eyes.” Fell says that what drew him to the poem was the gusto and exuberant music of its lines and imagery. “This is a poem that is unashamedly in love with the idea of life, and which conveys an emotion that is inevitably compelling.”

Entries this year came from secondary schools all over New Zealand. Fell says he really enjoyed reading the wide range of poems that were submitted, some of them very promising.


2015 Award winner : Grace Lee – ‘Eileithyia

Finalists : Alyxandra Devlin – ‘Colours of the Wind

Finalists : Amy Huang – ‘Groundless

Finalists : Anastazia Docherty – ‘The Golden Rule

Finalists : Holly Morton – ‘Tahanan

Finalists : Jake Kelly-Hulse – ‘White

Finalists : Josh Richards – ‘Death and the Maiden

Finalists : Katie Hooper – ‘Movement of Life

Finalists : Leah Dodd – ‘Soft Cotton Mornings

Finalists : Sarah Liu – ‘Drifting

Read the press release
Read previous winning and shortlisted poems