Best-selling author Joanne Harris launched a poetry trail in Beaumont Park in Huddersfield on Saturday.
The Almondbury-based writer, who rose to international fame with her novel Chocolat, officially opened the ‘Beautiful Poetry’ trail, organised by Friends of Beaumont Park.
Ms Harris presented prizes to the winning authors of poems which will be displayed on plaques around the 21-acre Victorian park.
The competition attracted 130 entries from 18 counties across the UK, which were judged by local poets Julia Deakin, Justine Knight, Winston Plowes, Gez Walsh and John Mason, the park’s head gardener.
Budding bards, aged five to 76, submitted verses and prose for what is believed to be the first permanent poetry trail in a UK public park.
The trail aims to popularise poetry and make it more accessible.
The winning poems will also be included in the book ‘Beaumont Park’s Beautiful Poetry’, published by the park photography group.
The book, which features a foreword by renowned Yorkshire poet Ian McMillan, includes profiles of the poets and judges together with the location of each winning entry in the park.
Hear a poem from the trail
Roy Mason, chairman of the 450-strong Friends of Beaumont Park, said: “This project has been hugely successful and has encouraged many excellent creative entries.
“It confirms that poetry is not for the few but can be enjoyed by large numbers of people.
“The many paths in the park winding through the picturesque woodland, high cliffs, grottos and a pond are ideal settings for a poetry trail.”
Born in Barnsley to an English father and French mother, Ms Harris worked as a modern languages teacher and university lecturer.
She wrote her hit novel Chocolat, which was adapted for a movie of the same name starring Juliet Binnoche and Johnny Depp, while working as a teacher.
Her subsequent releases, including The Lollipop Shoes and Peaches for Monsieur le Curé, has been best sellers.
While her books – she has also authored several cookery books – are written in English, her first language is actually French.