A SALISBURY writer has claimed the top prize at this year's Winchester Poetry Festival.

Peter Iveson's Mother’s Milk won over the judges, fighting off competition from more than 2,000 other entries.

At a packed prize-giving event in Winchester Discovery Centre, Huw Miles, partner at Paris Smith, presented the winner’s cheque for £1,000, emphasising the "important place" poetry has "always held in giving meaning and inspiration to our lives".

Winchester Poetry Festival chair, Stephen Boyce, said: "The popularity of the annual Winchester Poetry Prize is immensely encouraging.

"Each year we have been able to attract a highly regarded judge for the competition, while the generous support of our sponsors enables us to give appropriate recognition to some outstanding poets."

The prize for the best poem by a Hampshire poet was won by Ellora Sutton, a journalism and creative writing graduate from Kingsley, for her poem Moon Collector.

Judge, poet and novelist Helen Mort, congratulated the authors of the winning and commended poems, highlighting "their fidelity to their subject matter, their generosity and the vividness of their expression".

All the winning and commended poems are published in an anthology entitled Please Give Me Your Heart to Hold, available from Winchester Poetry Festival's website.