May 2, 2019 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn

Congratulations to Kayla Skinner! The third year Double Major in Psychology and English won Poetry London’s 2019 Open Theme Poetry Contest.

“I was so excited to win! It wouldn’t have been possible without the editing workshops (Dr. Tom Cull) held during class hours. It was by far the most fun I’ve ever had in an English class,” says Skinner.

Skinner wrote the poem, entitled Recycling Humanity, as part of Dr. Cull’s Creative Writing Class during a collaboration with Professor Shawna Lewkowitz's Social Justice and Peace Studies course. As part of the collaboration, students conducted a river walk and cleanup along the Thames River (Deshkan Ziibi).

As the winner of the contest, Skinner read her poem during the awards ceremony on April 17, 2019. The contest was judged by acclaimed Canadian poet Canisia Lubrin.

Kayla had previously read her poem in October 2018 at a special panel of a three-day conference at Museum London called The River Talks: A Gathering at Deshkan Ziibi of which King's was a conference partner.

Skinner admits she was “a little bit nervous” in reading her poems, but says Dr. Cull coached her on public speaking and reading poetry out loud.

“I’ve always enjoyed writing poetry and short stories. King’s has helped me get published within the community,” Skinner says. She has had pieces published in the Regis and FrankenZine, the zine for Wordsfest, a literary and creative arts festival held in London. 

Skinner sends a “big thank you to Dr. Tom Cull who has helped make some of my dreams come true this year and has encouraged me to work this summer on creating my own novel.”

For more information on the contest, and to read the award-winning poem, please visit