Wednesday, April 23, 2014

2014 Newcastle Poetry Prize

There are a number of poetry prizes available to writers in Australia, but the one that excites me most of all is the Newcastle Poetry Prize.  The key reasons why I make it a point to enter this every year (I shortlisted a few years back for my multimedia poem Betelgeuse), is that:
  • it's administered by two local organisations, both of which I have links to: the wonderful Hunter Writers Centre (of which I've been a member for some 18 years or so!) and The University of Newcastle
  • It's well established - 33 years old this year (still younger than I am...), and is prestigious enough to make a huge difference in terms of a poet's career - opening doors and pulling some strings...
  • It's lucrative (hey, a poet has to eat).  First prize is $12,000.  Second prize is $5,000. That's a pretty decent meal.
  • The judges are almost always excellent poets themselves, and well versed (couldn't help myself) in critically assessing the work of others. The 2014 judges are two poets whose work I admire greatly: Mark Tredinnick and Anna Kerdijk Nicholson. 
Yes, the competition is outrageously steep.  Some of Australia's best poets enter and win it each year, but not every winner is already rich and famous (the rich was just a joke - poets tend not to be rich...).  Entries are judged anonymously so the only thing that matters is the quality of your work and I have to say that I've read just about all the winners over the past 10 or so  years and the poems have, without exception, been astonishingly fine (even if you don't win, taking part in such a gorgeous word fest is an honour). All short listed poems are published in the annual anthology, which is, in itself, a thing of great beauty.  So, despite the fact that I'm not necessarily looking for any extra competition this year, I'm urging you to have a go.  Just the process of getting a poem or series of poems up to a quality ready for entry is a worthwhile task.  In other words, you win no matter what the outcome, especially if you then take the time to read the winning entry, attend the award ceremony (which I'll be involved in this year...), and generally participate in the process.  Entries close Friday 20th June.   Enter at:


  1. Thanks Maggie, and good fortune for this year! :-)

  2. 'well versed' ... heh, heh, heh!