Women Poets' Prize reveals 2020 shortlist

Women Poets' Prize reveals 2020 shortlist

Nine writers have made the shortlist for the biennial Women Poets' Prize, hailed for their “ambitious, experimental and ground-breaking” work.

The prize, founded by the Rebecca Swift Foundation and supported by FMcM Associates, is awarded to three women writers. Each receives a package including a £1,500 cash bursary, a poetry mentor, pastoral coaching and various creative and collaborative opportunities.

This year's judges are the award-winning poets Liz Berry, Malika Booker and Pascale Petit. They selected the final nine from a longlist of 30, with a total of 734 submissions entered.

The shortlist includes Dundee-based Alisha Dietzman, British-Nigerian poet Olivia Douglass, US-born Eve Ellis and Cecilia Knapp, the current Young People’s Laureate for London.

Also on the shortlist are Vietnamese-Chinese-British poet Natalie Linh Bolderston, London-based Bryony Littlefair, West Yorkshire writer Laura Potts, Latinx poet Yvette Siegert and British-Somali writer Warda Yassin.

The judges said: “The poems were ambitious, experimental and ground-breaking in terms of formal, thematic, rhythmic, lyrical, narrative consideration. It is heart-lifting to know that women are making such thrilling, ambitious, tender work, and that the world of poetry is moving forwards in exciting ways and in such capable hands. An exciting selection of poems.”

For the first time, in 2020 all 30 poets on the longlist were offered a year’s free membership to Being A Writer, a platform recently launched by prize partner The Literary Consultancy (TLC).

Earlier this year, the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire came on board as a partner, working with the prize to provide poets with voice-coaching opportunities. It joins Faber & Faber, Bath Spa University, TLC, City Lit, Verve Festival and The Poetry School as partners.