A Chat With New Manx Youth Bard: Holly McRae


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Holly totally overwhelmed myself and the judges with her poem 'Fenella'. Her confident and unique delivery was just spellbinding and already Holly is in huge demand for performances.  We all look forward to seeing where Holly’s journey will take her.

-Bridge Carter

We caught up with recent winner of the Manx Youth Bard Competition, Holly McRae.

Q. Tell us about yourself

A. My name is Holly MacRae and I’m 16 years old. I was born and raised in Scotland, but moved to the beautiful Isle of Man in 2010. I love the colour yellow, cups of tea (lots of tea) converse shoes, music, books and quirky films. I love to sing and play piano and guitar; I perform in concerts and play in the worship band at Living Hope Church and I love writing songs, stories and now I write poems too!

Holly McRae

I was so happy, not just that I’d won, but that the beautiful purple robes matched my Doc Martin boots!

Q. How did you first get into poetry?

A. Well, I entered this competition! - I’ve been writing songs and stories since I was little, which is why I love creative writing, but never had I written poems before. I’ve always admired poetry, because I think it’s such a clever and engaging way for someone to express a topic and convey emotion through the power of words.

Q. What inspires you?

A. I’m very inspired by the book of Psalms, a collection of songs in the Bible, which contains many beautiful metaphors and lovely poetic imagery. Another source of inspiration for me, are some of my favourite authors. Writers such as J.R.R. Tolkein, C.S. Lewis, Wilfred Owen, Dr Seuss and others, have such profound and creative ways of describing the world around us and I just love reading their material because it’s looking at life through a different lens.

Words carry so much power, whether they’re written on paper or spoken aloud.

Piano

I love to sing and play piano and guitar; I perform in concerts and play in the worship band at Living Hope Church and I love writing songs, stories and now I write poems too!

Q. What made you decide to enter the competition?

A. One of my English teachers had approached me one day and asked me if I wanted to enter the competition. I told her that, in all honesty, I’d never written poetry before! However, I decided to give it a go and spent time researching the first folk tale I’d ever been told on the Island, which was the tale of Fenella. There are several legends about her, but I wanted to create a personification of these stories, and tell my story about Fenella. I was really interested to see what Manx people would think of my interpretation of her, and so entered the competition to share Fenella’s tragic story.

Q. Why do you think having a Manx Youth Bard is important?

A. I think it’s important to promote poetry to the younger generation and to keep creative minds alive and curious. I think having a young bard is such a good idea to inspire kids and teens. It’s also vital for this young generation to celebrate the history and the magnificent tales of the Isle of Man; her legends and her myths.

Fenella

...the first folk tale I’d ever been told on the Island... was the tale of Fenella. I was really interested to see what Manx people would think of my interpretation of her, and so entered the competition to share Fenella’s tragic story.

Q. How did you feel when you won?

A. I was very shocked, I was kind of waiting for them to turn around and say, ‘only joking!’ - but I felt honoured to receive such a title and prize. I was so happy, not just that I’d won, but that the beautiful purple robes matched my Doc Martin boots!

Q. What do you hope to do with your role as Manx Youth Bard over the coming year?

A. I’d really love to inspire others. I’d love to promote positive messages through my words, whether through story, song or poem, I’d love to write profound and fresh material to be heard or read.

I would also love to use this Manx Youth Bard position to gain experience in creative writing, so I can one day reach my goal to become a writer.

It would be good for me to learn new things, develop skills and really get involved in different events on the island. I’m just excited to see what 2019 has for me with this new role.

I’d like to offer my thanks to all of the people who have given me this wonderful opportunity.


The Manx Bard Project

The Manx Bard + Youth Bard are initiatives brought about by accomplished Manx poet and creator, Bridge Carter. After winning the 2012 Manx Literature Festival Poetry Slam, Bridge stated how the event took her on a rollercoaster of other creative and poetic paths which included moving on to work behind the scenes of the Poetry Slam to paving the way for the idea of The Manx Bard in.

The Youth Bard seemed like a natural progression of the project. Our island has a special relationship with poetry and storytelling and there has been a major resurgence in the art form in recent years particularly with our younger generation.

-Bridge Carter

For more information on how you can get involved in the Manx Youth Bard, you can email manxbard@gmail.com.

The Manx Bard + Youth Bard projects are sponsored by the Isle of Man Arts Council with support from Culture Vannin, Year of Our Island, Shoprite and Bridge Bookshop in conjunction with Manx Literature Festival.


A sponsored body of
The Department of Education, Sport and Culture
Rheynn Ynsee, Spoyrt as Cultoor
Isle of Man Government
Reiltys Ellan Vannin
Isle of man Government
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