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.