Announcing the Winners of the 2020 New Poets Prize
We are delighted to announce the winners of the 2020 New Poets Prize as chosen by Luke Kennard. Congratulations to the winners and thank you to all entrants for letting us see your work.
for his collection, Aunty Uncle Poems
Deep, funny, thought-provoking – a powerful evocation of culture and family with the most assured phrasing and imagery and confident formal innovation. ‘Blessed Princess Lady’ is as beautifully strange as it is genuinely moving. ‘Drake Equations’ is fantastic. I could go on at length about every poem here. This was so exciting to read and I’d expect a major full collection from Odubanjo in the near future. – Luke Kennard
Gboyega Odubanjo is a British-Nigerian poet born and raised in East London. His pamphlet, While I Yet Live, was published by Bad Betty Press in 2019. He is a Roundhouse Resident Artist. His work has been published in: Ambit, White Review, Wildness, The Interpreter’s House, Pigs, and elsewhere.
for her collection, Ugly Bird
Hollingsworth–Smith’s poems are immediately and joyfully readable even at their darkest, and Ugly Bird is full of masterful juxtapositions, emotional swerves and perfect details (the angle of an OHP, the plastic tiara prongs). It’s such a skill to navigate these waters with such attentiveness; defiant, ecstatic powers of observation transfiguring the ordinary with wit and self-awareness. – Luke Kennard
Lauren Hollingsworth-Smith is a Rotherham based poet and a member of Hive South Yorkshire and the Writing Squad. She has been published in two Hive anthologies, was a Foyle Young Poet of the Year in 2019 and highly commended in the Young Northern Writers Award in the same year. Lauren volunteers at the children’s literary charity, Grimm and Co, and will be reading English and French at Oxford University in October.
for her collection, Empathy Creature
Holt draws the reader’s fascination and engagement from such unexpected quarters through the most judicious deployment of detail: eye-lash curlers, dual carriageways, real-life encounters with Coronation Street actors. The juxtapositions are superior and considered and I was captivated by the shrewd, clever voice throughout. – Luke Kennard
Lucy Holt is a freelance copywriter and MA student at The Royal College of Art, London. Her poetry and non-fiction has appeared in The Observer, 3:AM Magazine, The Oxford Review of Books and Ache Magazine. She lives in Manchester.
for her collection, Takeaway
Takeaway is a vivid and powerful collection. Expansive but precise lines and stanzas give Woodhead the space to explore the lives and scenes she depicts. So many of the images here are breathtaking and will really stay with me. ‘Harry Collins’ is such a vivid, poignant and angry character study and the title poem alone was enough to convince me that I was in the presence of a significant and urgent new voice. Uncompromising in its depiction of brutalities without ever sacrificing the humanity and compassion of the poet’s vision. – Luke Kennard
Georgie Woodhead is part of the Hive Poetry Collective. In 2018 she was a winner of the Foyle Young Poet of the Year, highly commended in the Young Northern Writers Award, and 2nd place winner in the Ledbury Poetry Competition (young people’s category). In 2019 she was the winner of the BBC Young Writer of The Year and was Young Poet in Residence at Sheaf Poetry Festival. In 2020 she was a recipient of the Newcastle Young Writers Prize, and was highly commended in the Prole Laureate Poetry Competition. Georgie has been published in two Hive anthologies. She’s performed widely at open mics and live events including the Ted Hughes Poetry Festival 2018, and has been a guest on Ian McMillan’s The Verb on Radio 3.
Poems by all four winners of the 2020 New Poets Prize will feature in the forthcoming issue of The North magazine, issue 65, which is out this Winter.
A New Poets Prize winners reading will he held at The Anthony Burgess Foundation in Manchester in Autumn 2020, and the four winning pamphlets will be published in June 2021.
The 2021 New Poets Prize will open for entries on 1st October 2020.
Luke Kennard is a poet and novelist. The author of five collections of poetry, his debut The Solex Brothers received an Eric Gregory Award in 2005 and his second, The Harbour Beyond the Movie was shortlisted for the Forward Prize in 2007 making him, at that point, the youngest writer ever to have been nominated. His most recent collection, Cain, was shortlisted for the International Dylan Thomas Prize in 2017. He lectures at the University of Birmingham.
See the list of past winners.
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