We are delighted to announce the winners of the 2023 International Book & Pamphlet Competition. Thank you to all of the entrants for letting us see your work, and congratulations to the two winners, chosen by Hannah Lowe:
for her collection Lady
for her collection A Coalition of Cheetahs
Congratulations also to the Highly Commended poets:
I was delighted by the pamphlets submitted for this year’s Book and Pamphlet Competition. The standard of work was very high, and it was tough to choose from such attentive and humane collections. As always, poetry continues to reflect our social and political times, and amongst these collections is fine writing about the body, gender, working and family histories, migration and diaspora.– Hannah Lowe
These poems of memory and girlhood are powerful evocations of the changing body and the male gaze. A raw, absurdist humour provides a sense of defiance throughout, and the tone is in turns sad, angry, rue. – Hannah Lowe
Laurie Bolger is a London based writer and founder of The Creative Writing Breakfast Club. Her work has featured at Glastonbury, TATE, RA & Sky Arts & has appeared in The Poetry Review, The London Magazine, Moth, Magma, Crannog, Stand & Trinity College Icarus. Laurie’s writing has been shortlisted for The Bridport Prize, Live Canon, Winchester & Sylvia Plath Prizes. Her poem ‘Parkland Walk’ was awarded first place in The 2022 Moth Poetry Prize. Laurie’s latest work explores autonomy, love & her working class Irish heritage.
For A Coalition of Cheetahs
Varied in subject matter, these poems are clearly in the control of a singular voice. There is wonderful use of imagery throughout and surprising metaphor in abundance, in gentle and inventive poems that explores ideas of love, home, family and loss. – Hannah Lowe
Doreen Gurrey trained as an English and drama teacher and for several years ran her own Youth Theatre Company. She went on to become an Adult Literacy Tutor writing and delivering Family Learning courses for the local council. Latterly she has worked as a Creative Writing tutor at York University. Her work has appeared in Poetry Salzburg Review, The North and The Yorkshire Anthology. She has won prizes in The McClellan, Bridport and Troubadour poetry competitions. Doreen lives in York and has five grown up children.
Mary Allen has spent her life in the arts. Initially she was an actor (rep, Rocky Horror Show, Godspell). Then, after many years as an arts management consultant, she became a chief executive, of Watermans Arts Centre, Arts Council England and The Royal Opera House. Subsequently she was an executive coach and joined several boards, including New Writing South of which she was chair.
Born in Cameroon, Clementine E. Burnley now lives and works between the UK and Germany. Clementine has an MSc in Applied Linguistics from Manchester University. She is currently a part-time, practice-based student at the Research Society for Process Oriented Psychotherapy where she studies conflict facilitation. Clementine has been published in Ink, Sweat & Tears, Magma, and The Poetry Review. In 2022 she was the RSL Sky Award Winner for creative nonfiction. As well as writing poetry she’s working on a nonfiction book about her family history.
Michael Greavy is a teacher from Manchester living on the edge of West Yorkshire. He has written and performed poetry at Edinburgh, Ilkley and Manchester festivals. Recent poems published in The North, Magma, Stand, Acumen and The Frogmore Papers. His work has been long-listed for the Bridport Prize.
Lydia Harris has made her home in the Orkney island of Westray. Her first pamphlet Glad Not to be the Corpse was published by Smiths Knoll in 2012. In 2017 she held a Scottish Book Trust New Writer’s Award. Her first full collection Objects for Private Devotion published by Pindrop was long listed for the Highland Book Prize.
Ramona Herdman’s recent publications are Glut (Nine Arches Press), A warm and snouting thing (The Emma Press) and Bottle (HappenStance Press). Glut was one of The Telegraph’s ‘20 best poetry books of 2022 to buy for Christmas’. Ramona lives in Norwich and is a committee member for Café Writers.
Lauren O’Donovan is a writer from Cork, Ireland. In 2023, she won the Cúirt New Writing Prize in Poetry and was also shortlisted for Listowel Writers’ Week Collection Award and the Fish Poetry Prize. In 2022, Lauren was awarded Arts Council funding to work towards her first collection along with a Munster Literature Centre Mentorship. She has published work in journals and anthologies such as: Rattle Magazine, Southword, Skylight 47, The Galway Review, The Galway Advertiser, The Honest Ulsterman, A New Ulster, Cork Words, Augur Magazine, Green Ink, Grand Little Things, The Quarryman, and Swerve.
About the International Book & Pamphlet Competition
The International Book & Pamphlet Competition was the first of its kind in Britain. Now in its 37th year, it has launched the careers of many well-established and successful poets, including Daljit Nagra, Michael Laskey, Kim Moore, Pascale Petit, and Catherine Smith.
The winning collections are beautifully produced and promoted widely, and entered for all eligible awards and prizes. They are also sold in bookshops throughout the UK and through online stockists of The Poetry Business publications.
This year, the two winners have both been awarded a prize of £700 and will receive editorial support from The Poetry Business towards the publication of their winning pamphlets in Spring 2024. The highly commended poets each receive an honorarium of £100.
Both the winners and highly commended entrants will take part in an online reading and will be published in The North. A celebratory reading and prize-giving will be held at Wordsworth Grasmere in February 2024.
The 2023 Judge
Hannah Lowe’s first publication was a pamphlet, The Hitcher, from Rialto Press in 2012. She has since published three other pamphlets, and three full length collections with Bloodaxe Books: Chick, which won the Michael Murphy Memorial Award in 2013, Chan (2016) and most recently The Kids, which was a Poetry Book Society Choice, and won both the Costa Poetry Award and the Costa Book of the Year in 2021. Hannah’s family memoir Long Time, No See (Periscope, 2015) was featured as Radio 4’s Book of the Week. Two new pamphlets are forthcoming from Hercules Editions. Hannah is Reader in Creative Writing at Brunel University.
Ann and Peter Sansom are directors of The Poetry Business and editors of The North magazine and Smith|Doorstop books. Ann’s publications include Romance and In Praise of Men & Other People (Bloodaxe) and Peter’s include Writing Poems (Bloodaxe) and Selected Poems (Carcanet).
See the list of past winners.
Each and every year The Poetry Business Book & Pamphlet Competition discovers and publishes exciting and substantial new poets…There’s no doubt that this is a career-changing poetry competition. If you’ve got a solid body of work that you’re pleased to have written, there’s nowhere better to send it.The Poetry Trust
One of the career milestones for very many poets of noteAnne-Marie Fyfe
I’ve judged a lot of contests, but I can’t recall any where the quality of the poems – one manuscript after another – was so highBilly Collins, 2015 competition judge