Disabled Poets Prize 2023


Jerwood Poetry Fellow Jamie Hale is launching the UK’s first Disabled Poets Prize in collaboration with us at Spread the Word, Verve Poetry Press, Verve Poetry Festival, and CRIPtic Arts. This Prize looks to find the best work created by UK based deaf and disabled poets, in written English and in British Sign Language.

Deaf and disabled poets face significant barriers to developing their careers. The Disabled Poets Prize will bring the work of the winning writers to new prominence, focusing attention on the exceptional work being produced by deaf and disabled writers. It is the first poetry prize in the UK specifically for deaf and disabled poets.

Deaf and disabled poets will be able to submit to  three categories – best single poem, best unpublished pamphlet, and best poem performed in British Sign Language. In each category, there will be a first place prize (£500), second prize (£250), third place prize (£100), and three high commended, awarded £50. The Prize offers significant professional development opportunities for the winning writers, including a publication deal with Verve Poetry Press for the best unpublished pamphlet as well as development prizes from The Literary Consultancy and Arvon Foundation.

As a disabled poet, Jamie says “the barriers to developing my career were immense – from the need for expensive software and hardware to write, to the fact that many poetry events are held in wheelchair inaccessible venues. I created this prize because I’ve been lucky to have the opportunities I’ve had, and I want other writers to share in that”. 

Ruth Harrison, Director, Spread the Word, says: “We are delighted to be supporting the Disabled Poets Prize. This is long overdue, and it is more important than ever to provide platforms and opportunities for disabled poets to have their voices heard and their creativity and talent celebrated and recognised.”

Stuart Bartholomew, Co-founder and Director of Verve Poetry Press and Festival, says:We are thrilled to see a Prize for disabled poets emerging into the world – too often overlooked and generally pretty badly catered for in the events landscape, some of the most vital and must-hear voices in UK and world poetry are disabled. If this Prize helps to get these voices heard, to create more platforms for poetry by disabled people to be heard, then it will have done us great service.”

In its first year, the Prize is made possible by CRIPtic Arts, Spread the Word, Verve Poetry Press and Festival and individual donations from Jamie Hale and Nathalie Teitler. The Prize is supported by The Literary Consultancy and Arvon. The Prize is actively seeking donations and conversations with people and organisations who are interested in supporting deaf and disabled poets and would like to contribute to the Prize’s growth.

The Prize opens for entries on Thursday 1 September 2022 and closes on Monday 31 October at 1pm.  Deaf and disabled poets can enter online or by post. Find out more information on the Disabled Poets Prize website: www.disabledpoetsprize.org.uk


Published 18 August