Announcing the Disabled Poets Prize 2023 Shortlists


The Disabled Poets Prize team is delighted to announce the shortlists for the inaugural Disabled Poets Prize. 

The Disabled Poets Prize 2023 was founded by Jamie Hale, with CRIPtic Arts, Spread the Word, and Verve Poetry Press and Festival. The Prize is supported by private donations from Jamie Hale and Nathalie Teitler.  The Prize aims to nurture, encourage, and celebrate the talents and successes of deaf and disabled poets. 

Barriers to entry to the arts for deaf and disabled people are high, with often inaccessible live spaces and expensive entry prizes. The prize, which is free to enter, and open to deaf and disabled UK writers, saw nearly 200 entries across two categories – Best Single Poem and Best Unpublished Pamphlet. 

Prizes include a number of cash prizes, a writers’ surgery with The Literary Consultancy, a place on an online Arvon Foundation masterclass and membership of The Literary Consultancy’s Being A Writer community platform. The winner of the best unpublished pamphlet will be published by Verve Poetry Press. The final results will be announced at a special online and in-person screening event as part of Deptford Literature Festival on Saturday 18 March.

Judges Peter Raynard, Romalyn Ante and Jamie Hale praised the high standard of entries. You can read Judges’ Notes on this year’s Prize by Jamie Hale:

Best Single Poem shortlist – Judged by Romalyn Ante and Jamie Hale

Jennifer Brough – Metaphors

Bio: Jennifer Brough (she/they) is a workshop facilitator and slow writer based in Nottingham. She writes fiction, reviews, and personal essays exploring the body, gender, pain, art, and literature. She is working on an essay collection and a poetry pamphlet. Jennifer is involved in projects centred in disability/illness and feminism, and is a founding member of resting up collective, an interdisciplinary sick group of artists.

Lea Elm – Paper Houses

Bio: Lea Elm is a Danish writer and photographer currently based in South East England. She writes literary fiction and creative non-fiction and recently started to write more poetry as a way to process and recover from what has been traumatic recent years, including experiencing discrimination as a disabled and hearing-impaired person in two separate workplaces. Lea is bilingual and writes in Danish, as well as her second language English. She has had a short story published in an indie zine, as well as a photo essay in Let’s Explore Magazine. Her work in both photography and writing often centres on singular moments, memory and belonging.

Jamie Field – How to Sign Playground

Bio: With poems published in Banshee, Abriged, Magma and elsewhere Jamie Field is a Poetry Ireland Introductions recipient 2021. He has a MA in Poetry from Queen’s University, Belfast. He is originally from Pontefract, West Yorkshire. He is deaf.

Moira Garland – After listening to Evelyn Glennie’s TED talk: How to Truly Listen

Bio: Moira Garland is a prize-winning poet, and fiction writer, with poetry published in magazines including Stand, The North, Dreamcatcher, Consilience, and Sarasvati. Her work appears in anthologies such as And the Stones Fell Open, When All This Is Over, and At the Edge of all Storms. She won the Poised Pen Another Place competition (2015), and the Leeds Poetry Peace Prize (2016), and her work has been commended in other competitions. Her poem was highly commended in the YorkMix Poems For Children Competition (2021). Her poetry has also appeared on the Wakefield Moonriver (2019) celebrating the 1969 moon landing, and has been set to music by Freya Ireland as part of the 2019 Leeds Lieder Festival. She is interested in writing about a broad range of issues, particularly social and political justice.

Katherine Goda – A is for Anger

Bio: Katharine Goda is a poet and creative facilitator. Her poems have appeared in The North (forthcoming), Live Canon 2021 International Poetry Competition anthology, The High Window, Fenland Poetry Journal, Blue Nib, The Result Is What You See Today (Smith│Doorstop), Play (The Broadsheet), Life of Breath and Café Writers Poem of the month. She recently worked with Paper Nations to transform one of her poems into a film poem. Awards include Highly Commended in the Blue Nib Chapbook and Otley Poetry Prizes, Commended in the YorkMix and Settle Sessions Competitions, an ACE Developing Your Creative Practice Award to consolidate her writing practice and explore creative facilitation with women in prison and new mothers, and a Northern Writers’ Award. She relishes working collaboratively and creatively, believing passionately in the power of words to challenge, include and inspire.

Ruth Yates – School on Saturday

Bio: Ruth lives in Sheffield. Her poems have been published in ‘Introduction X: The Poetry Business Book of New Poets’ and in magazines including The North, Route 57 and Pennine Platform. She was awarded a Sheffield Writer Development Grant in 2022.

Best Unpublished Pamphlet Shortlist – judged by Peter Raynard and Jamie Hale

Rebecca Ferrier – A Diet of Leeches

Bio: Rebecca Ferrier is an award-winning writer and poet based in Edinburgh. Her prose has been published in ‘New Gothic Review’ (forthcoming), ‘Northwords Now’ and ‘Gutter’, while her poetry has featured in ‘Lighthouse’, ‘West Word Revue’ (forthcoming) and ‘Raceme’ (forthcoming). She is in the final editing stages of a historical fiction novel, which is themed around the ocean, chronic illness and feminism.

Noemi Gunea – Twelve Steps Behind

Bio:Noemi Gunea is a neurodiverse Romanian writer and performance artist based in London. She has shown work at the Tate Exchange, British Museum, Royal Academy of Arts and Arebyte Gallery. You can see her work at . She also makes up half of comedy performance duo Cheap Thrills. Their 2020 radio play ‘Free Your Mind’ was shortlisted for a BBC Audio Drama Award in 2020. She is currently working on her debut novel exploring post-soviet trauma and alcoholism.

Justina Hart – Remapping

Bio: Justina Hart is a poet and fiction writer, whose poems have been shortlisted in the Poetry School’s national pamphlet competition and widely anthologized. She won first prize in the 2022 Wolves Lit Fest poetry competition and first prize in the long poem category of the 2020 Second Light competition. Justina is currently writing a book of water- and climate change-themed poetry and memoir. She has reviewed for Agenda and Artemis magazines and is a member of NAWE’s Writing in Education magazine editorial board.

Katherine Moss – The Still Point

Bio: Katherine Moss is a recent graduate of The Manchester Writing School. Her poetry pamphlet explores the intersection of truth and mythology within family history with a particular interest in the Irish Diaspora. Katherine’s work also examines her own life as a disabled woman and mother. Her poem ‘St Francis’ Satyr’ was published in the journal ‘Consilience’ in October 2022. In October 2020 her monologue, ‘Linda’s Shield’ was produced by The Garrick Theatre in an online performance. The story reflected the impact of high Covid-19 mortality rates for elderly and disabled people in the UK. In 2022 she was awarded the Dr Lee Kai Hung Postgraduate Bursary for her poetry and spoken word project on the life experiences of UK residents of Chinese and British descent. She has also worked as a volunteer editor on the children’s book ‘Tales of the Bold, the Brave and the Beautiful’, the second book from the ‘Stories of Care’ project in Greater Manchester.

Shloka Ramachandran – type one 
Bio: Shloka Ramachandran is a writer and MFA student from Mumbai, currently based at St Andrews, Scotland. She enjoys tea, the poetics of chronic illness, and long walks on the beach.

Katie Simpson – Wander 

Bio: Born in Essex (UK) Katie slowly hopped her way northwards into Suffolk, landing by the banks of the beautiful River Deben. Her love for the special place she calls home infuses everything she writes. For years, Katie indulged her love of writing through her work as a schoolteacher. Loss and ill health propelled her into a journey through yoga, meditation and writingKatie went on to complete an MA in creative writing. She has recently had a micro poem published in the wonderful book Happiness Comes in Waves and was awarded the 2nd place prize in the Create the Future writing competition. She has also won 2nd prize in a local ‘Angry Ghosts’ poetry competition and has been published in the online journals Blue House Journal and Green Ink Poetry.

The Longlists

The Disabled Poets Prize judges and team would like to congratulate the longlisted writers. 

Best single poem longlist 

Colin Dardis – A Dream of Bogwood

Bio: Colin Dardis is a neurodivergent poet, editor and sound artist from Northern Ireland. His work, largely influenced by his experiences with depression and Asperger’s, has been published widely throughout Ireland, the UK and USA. His latest book is Apocrypha: Collected Early Poems (Cyberwit, 2022). His latest album is Funerealism (Inner Demons Records, 2022).

Elizabeth Gibson – The other planet
Elizabeth Gibson is a queer, neurodivergent poet and performer in Manchester. She has won a New North Poets Prize at the Northern Writers’ Awards, and her poems have appeared in Confingo, Lighthouse, Magma, Popshot, Queerlings, and Under the Radar, She has worked with Manchester Literature Festival, Manchester Pride, Islington Mill, The Portico Library, Oldham Coliseum, and Yorkshire Dance. In 2021, she was awarded a Developing Your Creative Practice grant from Arts Council England. She is on Twitter and Instagram as @Grizonne.

Naoise Gale – Fable

Bio: Naoise Gale is a lyrical poet from West Yorkshire, who writes about her experiences with psychosis, mental illness and neurodivergence. Her debut pamphlet After the Flood Comes the Apologies was published by Nine Pens in 2021, and her first full collection IMPLODE EXPLODE was published by Beir Bua Press in 2022. She is currently studying an MA in Creative Writing Poetry at UEA. You can find more of her work on twitter at @NaoiseGale13.

Paula Knight – In Real Life

Bio: Paula is an author, former children’s illustrator and comics creator. Her graphic memoir, The Facts of Life (Myriad 2017) reached the shortlist of Myriad’s inaugural First Graphic Novel Competition. She is the author of three children’s picture books. Paula’s poetry has been published online. She has very severe ME/ energy impairment disability and uses assistive technology to write. Her work explores disability, chronic illness/ pain, nature and her exile from the world outside. Twitter: @Paula_JKnight IG: @paulajkstudio

Imogen McHugh – The Strange Creatures

Bio: Imogen McHugh is a disabled poet from Norwich, England. ‘A King’s Bones’, her first published book of poetry, arrived in 2022. In 2021 she was featured on BBC Radio 4’s ‘New Frequencies’ programme. Her writing aims to find peace in the past and present.

Kathryn O’Driscoll – A Brief Period of Instability

Bio: Kathryn O’Driscoll is queer, neurodivergent and disabled poet from Bath. She was the 2021 U.K. slam champion and a World Slam Finalist from Bath. She was longlisted for the Outspoken Prize for Performance Poetry, and the Saboteur Award for Best Spoken Word Artist in 2022. In 2021 she was one of the featured poets on the (BAFTA winning) Sky Arts spoken word TV show Life and Rhymes. Her debut collection ‘Cliff Notes’ was released by Verve Poetry Press in February.

Best unpublished pamphlet longlist

One Inky Queer – Keeping Mum

Bio: Trauma poet keeping it light. Reanna has been published in Ergi Press’s Loki anthology, Inksac by Cephalo Press and Muswell Press’s ‘Queer Life Queer Love: The Second Anthology’. They were shortlisted for the Zealous Amplify creative prize. Reanna has performed at Orpington Literary Festival, Shambala Festival slam and Extra Second London. They are Creative Director of two queer poetry nights: @QueerThe Mic in Brighton and @PoetryMeetQT online.

Helen Rice – I’m Not Your Mother

Helen Rice is a performing writer based in Sheffield. Her poems are often deceptively humorous while reflecting on broader political themes and deeply personal experiences as a disabled woman and working stepmum. In 2019, Helen was one of six poets chosen for the Wise Talk performance development programme; an Arts Council England funded project for emerging artists living and working in or around Sheffield. She won first prize at Leeds Poetry Festival’s national poetry competition in 2022 and was published in their anthology ‘Taking Up Space’. You can follow her creative work on Facebook at @helenriceshowingoff She also has a YouTube Channel which features her music and comedy alongside her spoken word material.

Fiona Roberson – Nature is Nurture

Fiona is a performance poet and writer in the North East of Scotland, as respite from her political work. Her poetry explores her somewhat chaotic interests, from disability to physics, feminism to the landscapes she grew up in, science to cats. She was commissioned by Hysteria as part of Amplify! to write a poetry and practical tips guide to adapting to new disability called “Your Life Is Not Over: A Book Of Apocalypses And How To Survive Them”, and she has performed at festivals, the Edinburgh Fringe, and with Loud Poets and the Pandemonialists.

Karis Williamson – Iamborn

Bio: Karis Williamson is a twenty-four year old poet and script writer from Inverness; she gained her B.A. hons. (Open) specialising in Creative Writing and the Classics in 2020She has commenced her ‘poetry apprenticeship’ attending the former New Statesman poet Bill Greenwell’s poetry clinics and participating in online Arvon and Live Canon poetry masterclassesKaris has also been mentored by the Bloodaxe published poet Aoife Lyall (2022) and is currently participating in the ‘Birds of Paradise Young Artists Digital Project’; one of her poems will feature in a BOPYA short film later this year (2023); she also collaborated on the film script itselfKaris is currently setting her poems to her own poetry films. She has previously taken part in projects with National Theatre Scotland (‘Hacks for the Future’ (2018) and ‘Dear Europe’ (2019))Karis has not submitted her poetry widely as yet but was invited to contribute to a tribute anthology for the poet Bill Greenwell Notes In Blue (2021); her poem Sculpting Stanzas appears thereAs an ambassador for the charity Euan’s Guide, she has also written reviews and blogs for them. 

Ruth Yates – Her Knitted Cardigan

Bio: Ruth lives in Sheffield. Her poems have been published in ‘Introduction X: The Poetry Business Book of New Poets’ and in magazines including The North, Route 57 and Pennine Platform. She was awarded a Sheffield Writer Development Grant in 2022.

Congratulations to all shortlisted and longlisted poets, and thank you to all those who entered. The judges enjoyed reading all your work.

We hope you will be able to join us on Saturday 18 March at a special in-person and livestreamed event announcing the Award results, featuring many of the talented shortlisted poets. The event will be part of Deptford Literature Festival and free tickets will be available to book in February.


Published 12 January 2023