Claire Collison, Anita Pati and Nina Mingya Powles have won the inaugural Women Poets’ Prize, celebrating poetry and the empowerment of women.
Launched this year by the Rebecca Swift Foundation, in memory of the late director of The Literary Consultancy Rebecca Swift, the prize rewards three emerging or established female-identifying poets per year, as selected through a judged application process, with a programme of support and creative professional development opportunities.
The three winning poets, Collison, Pati and Powles, were praised collectively for "pushing at the bounds of what the art form can be", while their poems were respectively commended for their "remarkable naturalness", "emotional intelligence" and "incredible originality".
Collison's work includes a monologue, Truth is Beauty, that involves her as a breast cancer survivor modelling bare-breasted for a life drawing class. She is also artist in residence at the Women’s Art Library. Pati, a Londoner born and brought up in a northern seaside town [pictured], has been published in magazines and anthologies and is working towards her first poetry pamphlet. And Powles, a writer from New Zealand now living in London, is poetry editor at The Shanghai Literary Review and the author of Luminescent (Seraph Press, 2017), Girls of the Drift (Seraph Press, 2014), and the forthcoming poetry pamphlet Field Notes on a Downpour (If A Leaf Falls Press).
Each chosen poet will now be matched with a poetry mentor in addition to a pastoral coach. They will also each receive a monetary award of £1,000.
Entries to the prize were judged by Pakistani-British poet and poetry tutor Moniza Alvi, poet and writer Fiona Sampson, and Sarah Howe, who won both the T.S. Eliot Prize and The Sunday Times/ PFD Young Writer of the Year Award with her 2015 debut, Loop of Jade (Chatto).
Howe said: "It was humbling and heartening to encounter the work of poets committed to pushing at the bounds of what the art form can be, the experiences it can encompass."