The Royal Birmingham Conservatoire has partnered with the Women Poets' Prize for the 2020 award, as it launches its second year in action.
The institute comes on board to provide poets with voice coaching opportunities, and joins fellow partners Faber, Bath Spa University, the Literary Consultancy, City Lit, Verve Gestival and the Poetry School.
Founded by the Rebecca Swift Foundation, in memory of the late director of The Literary Consultancy (pictured), the prize is awarded biennially to three writers, who each receive £1,000, a poetry mentor and practical support including digital skills training and childcare cover.
This year's judges are poets Liz Berry, Malika Booker and Pascale Petit.
Commenting on the judging process, Petit said: “I won’t know what I’m looking for until I find it – I’m hoping for surprises! I’m open to work that is beyond my aesthetic and taste, and will read with an adventurous mind. This is such a fantastic prize, where the winners will be nurtured and fully supported with pastoral care as well as top mentors. There are so many new women’s worlds to discover, it ’s exciting to be part of that process and I can’t wait for the discussions with my dream co-judges Malika and Liz.”
The 2018 prize was won by Claire Collison, Anita Pati and Nina Mingya Powles, judged from over 600 submissions. An independent evaluation of the first year, conducted by literary consultant Nathalie Teitler, found the Women Poets’ Prize to be “an essential new prize” bringing together a diverse range of voices across the UK, many of whom were entering a prize for the first time, and described it as “an important model for literature organisations in the UK going forward”.
Submissions for the prize are now open and will close on 14th August, with a shortlist announced on 2nd October.