Letitia Chan (I) is one of 15 student writers to win top honors in the 2016 Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award for her poem “Making Glutinous Dumplings with My Mother.” Letitia’s poem was selected from among 10,000 entries submitted by 6,000 students from around the world.
Letitia learned about the competition from her mentor at Adroit Journal’s summer online program, which pairs experienced writers with students. The Foyle Award competition is hosted by The Poetry Society of London. “Making Glutinous Dumplings with My Mother” is a piece Letitia developed in last spring’s Advanced Creative Writing class with Ms. Lisa Baker.
“The poem started with an image of making dumplings with my mother, and I connected that with the dynamics of a mother-daughter relationship, particularly when you return home after living away at school,” says Letitia, who is a boarding student from Hong Kong.
This is not the first time that Letitia’s work has received recognition. Last year, her collection of poems earned a first place Bennington College Young Writers Award. She was also runner up last year in the Nancy Thorp Poetry Contest, another national competition.
Letitia says that her work has grown more personal over the years. “I’m interested in writing about uncomfortable relationships—how you are as a teenager and how your relationship with your parents can change,” she says. “Some of my real life is reflected in my work, but there are also many parts of my poetry that do not reflect my real life.”
You can read Letitia’s prize-winning poem on The Poetry Society website.