A Wirral poet has been awarded a prestigious poetry scholarship from Edge Hill University.
Victoria Loftus, 26, received the Rhiannon Evans Poetry Scholarship, which recognizes and celebrates students who display promise as creative writers.
During her time studying at Edge Hill, Victoria was published in a number of online and print publications and selected for professional internships on magazines, as well as at Edge Hill University Press.
She said: “When I received the scholarship, I was very proud, and it gave me a massive confidence boost to know that my poetry is good enough to be rewarded in that way.
“I never imagined I would actually win it.”
Labeling it her ‘writing fund’, the financial support of the scholarship has taken some pressure off and allowed Victoria to travel to readings or enter competitions and other writing projects, including the creation of an online literary magazine which is aimed at publishing underrepresented and emerging poets.
It enabled her to network with other creatives and build her reputation in the industry.
Victoria said: “The idea is something I’d been interested in for a number of years – even throughout my undergraduate course – and finding three like-minded poets on the Master’s course made it seem more realistic.
“I floated the idea with them and they were immediately as enthused as me, not to mention working on the project has been a great way to keep in touch after graduating.”
During her studies at both undergraduate and postgraduate level, Victoria’s writing focuses on issues such as mental health, social justice and grief, creating manuscripts exploring the evolution of mental health care.
Some of her inspiration comes from personal experience, having lost two people close to her through cancer, writing many of her BA assignments from a hospice and still managing to achieve first class grades.
Victoria said in her scholarship application: “I feel like my life experience has improved my writing and my writing has allowed me to process loss and mental stress.”
During her time at Edge Hill Victoria was involved in many different projects including writing for the University’s student blog, attending and reading at literary events and performing in and producing two original plays with Paperstage Productions.
Victoria said: “Doing a Master’s had always been a natural step; I always knew it was something I wanted to do and Edge Hill was the perfect place for me.
“Edge Hill feels like a community, it’s easy to get to know your tutors and the people on your course because you’re studying in one central location.
“I’ve always found there to be a huge support system and a wide range of opportunities to get involved with, I would recommend all current students to take advantage of as many extra-curricular activities as possible.”
Victoria is now a content writer for a security e-commerce company in Hoylake.
She said: “I really enjoy being able to write and use my creativity for a living and I have learned so much about marketing, coding and image manipulation, not to mention I know a lot about the ins and outs of security cameras now!
“You never know where a qualification in creative writing will take you, and I would love to pursue a PhD in creative writing one day.”
Rhiannon Evans was Pro Vice-Chancellor (Students and External) at Edge Hill University from 1994 to 2008. With a lifelong interest and connection with poetry, Rhiannon founded this scholarship on her retirement. To find out more about applying for a university scholarship please visit our website.