Poetry prize aims to nurture new talent

The University has launched a new prize aimed at nurturing previously unpublished poets.

Professor Simon Armitage, Professor John Whale, Dr Vahni Capildeo and Malika Booker launch the Brotherton Poetry Prize

Simon Armitage, Professor John Whale, Dr Vahni Capildeo and Malika Bookerlaunch The Brotherton Poetry Prize. November 2018

The Brotherton Poetry Prize, from the University’s Poetry Centre, will be judged by Professor of Poetry at Leeds, Simon Armitage, together with writer, broadcaster and the University’s former Chancellor, Lord Melvyn Bragg.

They will be joined by poets and University cultural fellows Dr Vahni Capildeo (winner of a Forward Prize in 2016) and Malika Booker, inaugural Poet in Residence at the Royal Shakespeare Company. 

Poetry Centre Director, Professor John Whale, and University Librarian, Stella Butler, complete the judging panel. 

Professor Simon Armitage said: “It's very exciting to be launching the Brotherton Poetry Prize and to look forward to its future relevance as an important annual event in the contemporary poetry landscape.  

“As well as identifying new literary talent and rewarding the winning poets financially, the prize aims to provide support and development through a combination of publication and mentoring, encouraging poets towards their long-term ambitions and further writing.  

“It's a proud moment for the University’s Poetry Centre to be offering this opportunity.”

Lord Bragg, who in 2017 stood down after 18 years as Chancellor, said: “I’m very pleased to have been invited to help judge Leeds’ new Brotherton Poetry Prize and look forward to seeing the encouragement it will provide to unpublished poets and to reading their work.”

Professor John Whale added: “The Poetry Centre is delighted at this opportunity to identify, celebrate and nurture new talent.”

Dr Capildeo, currently Douglas Caster Cultural Fellow at Leeds, said: “Poetry prizes can help bring visibility to poets, sparking global and local connections and positive, inspiring change.” 

Malika Booker added: “Developing artistic practice at an early stage of your career is one of the best investments a poet can make in their future and this prize helps facilitate this alongside the opportunity for publication and wider exposure.”

Entry criteria 

The prize is open to anyone over 18 who has not yet published a full collection of poems. Entries should include up to five poems. The winner will receive £1,000 and the opportunity to develop their creative practice with the Poetry Centre. Four runners-up will each receive £200.

Work of the shortlisted poets will be published as an anthology by respected publisher Carcanet, and all five will be invited to take part in a series of readings and events at the University and other Yorkshire venues.

The prize has been generously supported by the Charles Brotherton Trust. Brotherton’s uncle, Lord Edward Brotherton of Wakefield, was a Yorkshire industrialist and philanthropist who funded the iconic University library building that bears his name.

Full details, rules and entry forms are available on the Brotherton Poetry Prize web page. The closing date is 4 March 2019.

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