The Winners of the 2023 International Book & Pamphlet Competition

Congratulations to the winners –

Doreen Gurrey for her collection, A Coalition of Cheetahs


Laurie Bolger for her collection, Spin.

Congratulations also to Mary Allen, Clementine E. Burnley, Lauren O‘Donovan, Lydia Harris, Ramona Herdman, and Michael Greavy whose respective collections were Highly Commended by the judges.

Judges comments:

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

Over the next few weeks, you’ll be able to watch videos of our winning and highly commended poets reading from their collections on our online offshoot of The North magazine – East of The North.

Find out about our winners:

Laurie Bolger | Doreen Gurrey

Find out about our Highly Commended poets:

Laurie Bolger

for Spin

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.

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

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Doreen Gurrey

for A Coalition of Cheetahs

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 ReviewThe 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. 

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

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Highly Commended

Mary Allen

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. 

Clementine Burnley

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 & TearsMagma, 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

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 NorthMagmaStandAcumen and The Frogmore Papers. His work has been long-listed for the Bridport Prize.

Lydia Harris

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

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

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

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