Comic Amanda swaps laughs for literature

Amanda Baker
Amanda Baker

A MORPETH comedy performance poet has landed a place on an international award shortlist for one of her serious works.

The Bridport Poetry Prize, otherwise known as the Poetry Oscars, has steadily grown in stature and prestige since it began in 1973 and this year there were more than 8,000 entries from all parts of the UK and from overseas.

Among the finalists is Amanda Baker, who is taking a break from the comedy and performance circuits while she writes her third adventure book for younger readers.

The poem that landed her on the prestigious pile is a very short piece (less than 30 words) about the death of her father and the enduring nature of grief.

She said: “Hearing that I had made the shortlist just about blew my socks off.

“I’ve never entered a poetry competition before and I know this is a big one for serious poets.

“I don’t tend to read my straighter pieces – I’m much more comfortable with comedy performance so this is just amazing. I’m chuffed.”

Amanda does have form when it comes to first time success in writing contests.

In 2000 her first attempt at short story writing landed her on the Virginia Wolfe bi-annual short story competition shortlist.

Five years later, even though she had never written for television before, Amanda was shortlisted and then a finalist in a BBC sitcom writing challenge.

The Kirkhill resident continues to write, but performing her comedy poetry is the main string to her bow at the moment.

She took her Random Ramblings show to the Edinburgh Fringe in 2010 and performed at the fringe again this year.

Although off the circuit at present she will be doing a short set at her favourite comedy venue, Laughing Lasses in Newcastle, on December 16th and is aiming to be back in circulation in 2012.

For more information about her shows and writing, visit