Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Portsmouth searches for its first poet laureate

The birthplace of author Charles Dickens is preparing for its first poet laureate.

Culture chiefs in Portsmouth want to build on the city's literary heritage by creating the honorary post.

The laureate will work with the community on civic events, including the 200th anniversary of the Oliver Twist author's birth in 2012.

Entries for the post close in January with the appointment made on 7 February, Charles Dickens' birthday.

Those interested have to submit four original poems as part of an application to the council's literature development officer.

The council said it hoped to follow in the footsteps of Oxford, Birmingham and Liverpool in appointing a poet laureate.

Councillor Lee Hunt, member for culture, leisure and sport, said: "I hope that our first poet laureate will build on the city's rich heritage of writers and help to establish Portsmouth as a great literary city."

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