The next generation of poets took to the Leicester stage and Birmingham came out on top in UniSlam 2018

By Sophie Sandberg

Five University of Birmingham students took home this year’s UniSlam title at the Curve Theatre in Leicester after an intense weekend dedicated to the art of poetry.

Over the course of three days, Leicester was filled with aspiring poets from all over the UK and Ireland who took part in UniSlam – a national poetry slam and summit competition for university students.

The team from the University of Birmingham came out on top followed by Bath Spa University, University of Kent and University of Manchester.

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The winning team: Hannah Swingler (coach), Hannah Ledlie, Kimberley Knaggs, Anne Gill, Sean Colletti, Mikey Barnes

“Last year we came in second place and to end this journey with a win is huge for me, now when my degree is coming to an end,” said Sean Colletti, 29, who was also given the UniSlam Ambassador award for his attempt to create unity among the teams outside of the competition.

Mr Colletti said: “[The award] came as a total surprise but it feels good to give something back to the management of UniSlam, because of all the hard work they have put in to make this possible – but getting first place is just as important as this award.”

“It’s been an intense but amazingly fun weekend and we’ve met so many talented people, but this just makes it an even more memorable experience,” said Kimberley Knaggs, 18.

“It’s an unbelievable feeling and it just feels good to bring the trophy back with us to Birmingham,” added Anne Gill, 22.

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Teams from 25 universities across Britain and Ireland travelled to Leicester to bare their souls through poetry in front of a highly qualified panel of judges, all with a background in professional poetry.

Representatives from De Montfort University (DMU) and the University of Leicester also entered this year’s competition but neither team made it through the preliminary rounds.

“It has been a great experience to be around so many talented people and this is definitely something that will inspire my writing,” said Dominic Haynard, 21, one of the poets who represented DMU in the competition.

UniSlam does not only support talented university poets, but also groups of people who experience various barriers in accessing literature and engages them with poetry in an inspiring way through various development programmes and schemes.

If you or anyone you know wants to join next year’s UniSlam or get involved in other ways, visit uni-slam.com.

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