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Poetry book wins top award for theological writing

by Tola Mbakwe

Rev Oakley's book, "The Splash of Words: Believing in Poetry" contains 40 poems, both contemporary and historic.

Each poem is accompanied by a reflection from the author. The winning book was chosen by a panel of five judges.

Rev Canon Mark Oakley said: "Theology is a language of love and poetry is the theologian's native language. Poetry takes the difficulties of life seriously and it also feels a bit like home.

"I put down some poems that have meant a lot to me and did a reflection. It's a full range across the centuries, not all of them are 'religious' but I do think within there's this exploratory of the Divine."

The MRP was started by Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams in 2005.

It aims to encourage the most promising contemporary theological writing and share it with a wider Christian readership.

Awarding the prize, Most Rev Justin Welby said: "Mark Oakley's work shines with an infectious love for poetry and for theology.

"Written with power and subtlety, Mark shows us how poetry can change our whole view of the world. He sees poetry not just as a tool for expressing faith but as a way of understanding: God is in the world as poetry is in a poem.

"The Splash of Words will bring alive poetry to anyone who reads it and shows us how vital poetry is for all Christians – rather than just an elite activity. Reading poetry alone and together will help us grown in faith, hope and love."

The winner received a £10,000 prize, while the other five shortlisted authors each received £1,000.

The MRP commemorates Dr Michael Ramsey, who was Archbishop of Canterbury 1961-1974, and his commitment to increasing the breadth of theological understanding among Christians and non-Christians.

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