GREENPORT, NY – A woman who lives at the Peconic Landing retirement home in Greenport recently won first prize in a prestigious international poetry competition.

Fran Castan won the UK’s Hippocrates Prize for Poetry and Medicine, Peconic Landing said in a press release.

Castan, a writer and teacher, was selected from applicants in 37 countries, each writing on a medical topic. In her first poem, “Voice Mail,” Castan “creatively captures the heartbreaking story of a dear friend’s battle with cancer,” the press release said.

“When my friend, the poet Siv Cedering, suffered from her last illness, she was working on a book of poetry that shows her hopeful, positive attitude,” said Castan. “I visited her frequently to prepare her work for publication. At the same time, I wrote poetry as a witness to our experiences during their heroic struggle.

Castan won £ 1,000 and published in the Hippocrates Society’s annual anthology; Her work has been judged by New York Times senior correspondent Anne Barnard, Indian poet Keki Daruwalla, and others.

“The flood of work was a joyful and painful reminder of how people around the world tried to make things happen even in this difficult year,” said Barnard.

Castan is also the author of The Widow’s Quilt, a poetry collection, and Venice: City That Paints Itself, a collection of her poetry and paintings by her late husband Lewis Zacks. Her awards include the Lucille Medwick Award from the Poetry Society of America and a joint award from New York University and the Academy of American Poets. She was also named Long Island Poet of the Year 2013 by the Walt Whitman Birthplace Association, Peconic Landing said.

Castan currently teaches a poetry appreciation course in the community’s academic program, Lifetime Learning.

“Ms. Castan is an integral member of our community and truly embodies our philosophy of continuous growth towards successful lives at all ages,” said Robert J. Syron, President and CEO of Peconic Landing. “On behalf of the Peconic Landing family, we congratulate them on this prestigious award.”