Set up by Jerwood Fellow Jamie Hale, Disabled Poets Prize is a collaboration between 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. We are pleased to announce that the full judging panel is: Jamie Hale (judging best single poem and best unpublished pamphlet), Romalyn Ante (judging best single poem), Peter Raynard (judging best unpublished pamphlet), Sahera Khan and DL Williams (judging best poem performed in BSL)
Deaf and disabled poets face significant barriers to developing their careers. The Disabled Poets Prize brings 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.
For the 2023 Prize, deaf and disabled poets are able to submit to three categories – best single poem, best unpublished pamphlet, and best poem performed in British Sign Language. Alongside cash prizes, The Prize offers significant professional development opportunities, including a publication deal with Verve Poetry Press for the best unpublished pamphlet as well as development prizes from Spread the Word, CRIPtic Arts, The Literary Consultancy and Arvon Foundation.
About the Judges
Jamie Hale – judge for best single poem and best unpublished pamphlet
Jamie is an award-winning theatre maker, poet, (screen)writer, charity CEO and founder and Artistic Director at CRIPticArts. They focus creatively on crip- and queer- realities, and the urgency of living as a disabled person.
Their poetry pamphlet, Shield was published in 2021, and read by Jack Thorne in the 2021 MacTaggart lecture, calling them as an “extraordinary voice”. Their solo poetry film, NOT DYING, was described as “fantastic” by Hannah Gadsby.
In 2021, they were awarded the Jerwood Poetry Fellowship, and won Director/Theatremaker of the Year Award for NOT DYING in the Evening Standard Future Theatre Fund Awards.
Jamie founded CRIPtic x Spread the Word online retreat for deaf and disabled writers in 2020, and ran it in 2021. They have been published in magazines including Magma and the Rialto, guest-edited the Bodies issue of Modern Poetry in Translation, and are working on their first full poetry collection.
DL Williams – judge for best poem performed in BSL
DL Williams is a poet working with British Sign Language and English. They have performed BSL poetry around the UK and internationally, in the USA and Brazil. She’s keenly interested in issues surrounding translation, having experimented with translating her own poems and performing in both languages at the same time.
“I’m delighted to be part of this project and really excited to see all the wonderful poems that I know are out there. I want to encourage any and all to send in their poems; language is beautiful whether it’s written or signed and can have so much meaning. Poetry has helped me explore the world and express myself. What is it that you want to convey?”
Sahera Khan – judge for best poem performed in BSL
Sahera Khan is Muslim Deaf BSL user. She is a writer/creator, artist/actor, filmmaker and YouTuber.
Sahera says: “It is an honour to take part in the Disabled Poets Prize as a judge for D/deaf poets. This will be the first time I have experienced this and it will be amazing to work with DL Williams. I hope to see more D/deaf poets sending in their unique poems, either in writing or BSL video. I am really looking forward to reading and watching their poems.”
Judge Sahera Khan’s BSL video
Romalyn Ante – judge for best single poem
Romalyn Ante is a Filipino-British, Wolverhampton-based poet, essayist, and editor. She is co-founding editor of harana poetry, a magazine for poets who write in English as a second or parallel language. Her debut collection is Antiemetic for Homesickness (Chatto & Windus). She was recently awarded the Jerwood Compton Poetry Fellowship ‘21-‘22.
Romalyn says: “Disabled people are often the most marginalised group in society, facing disadvantages not only in psychosocial and economic aspects but also in our cultural domain. Disabled Poets Prize is necessary to help develop and honour our fellow poets and illuminate their talents and potential in the British landscape.”
Peter Raynard – judge for unpublished pamphlet
Peter Raynard is a disabled working class poet. He edited Proletarian Poetry for five years (www.proletarianpoetry.com), featuring over 150 poets. His poetry books are Precarious, (Smokestack Books), The Combination: a poetic coupling of the Communist Manifesto, (Culture Matters), both in 2018, and Manland (Nine Arches Press) in July 2022. Instagram @peterraynard. Image of Peter by Naomi Woddis.
Peter says: “The Disabled Poets Prize is a rare opportunity for deaf and disabled poets to get their work published with supporting organisations.”
Entries are open until 1pm, Monday 31 October 2022 for best single poem and best unpublished pamphlet categories. Best poem performed in BSL category is open for entries until 1pm, Monday 7 November 2022. Please visit: www.disabledpoetsprize.org.uk
The Prize is free to enter, and donations are welcome to support the future of the Prize.
Published 4 October 2022
Updated 24 October 2022