A YEAR-13 student at a York sixth form college has received an international award for poetry.

Ellen Bray Koss, in her final year of A-levels at All Saints RC School, was one of 15 winners of the Foyle Young Poets of the Year from a field of 6,600 young people across 119 countries.

The 17-year-old, whose work has also been commended this year by Christopher Tower Poetry Competition and at Stratford Literary Festival, won for a work entitled First Blood.

Of collecting the award at the Globe Theatre in London among contemporaries, Ellen said: “It was double-exciting for me to be in such an historic location with lots of forward-thinkers.

York Press: Ellen's success came as the awards celebrated their 25th anniversaryEllen's success came as the awards celebrated their 25th anniversary (Image: Hayley Madden)

“It was a nice place to do it and really exciting for me to meet all the other poets.

“We’ve kept in contact – I was really nervous but I had a lot of fun.”

Ellen’s winning work was after the style of Richard Siken and she has also taken inspiration from a spectrum which includes Sylvia Plath plus songwriters Phoebe Bridges, Fiona Apple and Stevie Wonder.

She highlighted her grandfather’s music collection which also gave a nod to the Blues and Motown.

One of Ellen’s teachers, Kate Vernon-Rees said: “It’s unbelievably phenomenal to get credited for both the Tower Poetry Competition and the Foyles Young Writers.

“Ellen takes an eclectic variety of inspirations, she’s got such a deep mine of ideas to explore.

“In some ways I’m not surprised at all – Ellen is a talented, vivacious and committee writer who absolutely loves what she does.

“The international recognition is completely deserved.”

Kate said around one-third of the A-level syllabus is around the reading and analysis of poetry - but not writing.

She said a poetry club which has recently been founded with the help of the students provides for a ‘group of very talented writers sharing their work’.

The Foyle Young Poets of the Year is run by The Poetry Society and is in its 25th year. It is considered one of the leading competitions in the world for young poets between the ages of 11 and 17 years of age.

Judith Palmer, director at The Poetry Society, said: “Heartfelt congratulations to all the amazing winners of this year’s Foyle Young Poets Award and a massive thank you to our skilful judges.

“It’s energizing to see so many thousands of young people turn to poetry to express themselves so eloquently.

“We hope this programme spurs life-long journeys into poetry.”

For her part, Ellen said: “I’m looking to study English and Creative Writing at university but I’d love to just go write for the rest of my life, really.

“Whether that’s in a job, or in the mountains somewhere.

“I just wanna go and do this for a really long time and I’ve wanted to do this ever since I was really little.”

First Blood can be read here and comes with a warning of graphic imagery.