Norwich 84-year-old resident wins poetry prize

A Norwich woman who wrote her first book at the age of 78 has won a competition to have her poetry displayed in a city centre shop window.

Jean Clark, 84, from Christchurch Road, won the ShopArt! poetry competition and will have her work published in an on-going exhibition inside disused shops in Westlegate.

Mrs Clark wrote the poem two years ago and did not realise it was a competition when she submitted it, so was delighted when she found out the news.

'I was amazed,' she said. 'I sent the poem in thinking it was relevant to the ShopArt! project. I think it will be good for people to see my work and the strong message it gives out.'

Born in Croydon in 1926, Mrs Clark moved to Norwich 25 years ago. She began writing poetry while working as the first student counsellor at Leicester Polytechnic. There she started writing a poetry journal and eventually in 1974 she showed her work to one of the lecturers.

'I've always read a lot and I came to like poetry quite early at school where I used to learn it off by heart,' she said. 'I never had any intention of being a published poet but people liked what I wrote.' At the age of 78 she put pen to paper and published her first book in 2007, an anthology of poetry Water From the Rock and then published her autobiography, And Then it Happened That... A Life Fully Adventured, this year.

Mrs Clark said: 'It's almost like a lot of what I've done has been quietly in the background. I haven't thought very much about getting out into the public arena.

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'All this suddenly coming is like another new chapter, which is rather good when you're 84.'

Mrs Clark's piece will be exhibited next week.

ShopArt! is managed by Norwich Arts Centre and places art into disused shop windows in the city. It is funded by Norwich City Council and supported by the Norwich City Centre Partnership.

ShopArt! work is also displayed at the former Co-op department on St Stephens Street, Prince of Wales Road, and Castle Meadow.

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Have you won a competition recently? Call reporter Donna-Louise Bishop on 01603 772438 or email