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Announcing the Shortlisted Poets for the 2023 Derby Poetry Festival Poetry Prize

In October 2023, Derby Poetry Festival announced the inaugural Derby Poetry Festival Poetry Prize. Open to submissions nationwide,  we invited people to submit poems on any theme to this year's guest Judge Helen Mort. 

We wanted the poetry prize and the openness of the theme to enable writers, poets and spoken word artists to introduce themselves to us and share their incredible writing with us. 

Celebrating the East Midlands, the wonderful region we proudly call home, we also introduced an East Midlands Prize specifically for writers based in the region. 

When considering the poems for the 2023 Prize, Helen explained, “I don't just want poems that invite a second reading, I want poems that demand me to listen and leave me subtly changed.”. 

We received an incredible response, over 150 entries from all across the country. It was a challenging task to shortlist poems, but we now have the shortlist for the 2023 Prize.

Introducing the 2023 Derby Poetry Festival Poetry Prize Shortlist.

Series: Mis—

Courtney Conrad

A Lament for ‘My Dear’

Ken Evans 

Crematorium Technician

Suzanna Fitzpatrick


Christopher James

At the bottom of your street, someone graffitied AMY in massive letters

Amy King 


Amy King


Leanne Moden

The night of my brother's wedding, snorting bad cocaine given to me by a stranger, from the cover of a Justin Bieber annual 

Harry Slater 

Orinoco Flow 

Sam Szanto

A Year in Ireland

Alice Tanik

Hotel MAN

Anastasia Taylor-Lind


Anastasia Taylor-Lind

Today someone will ask me for tomorrow and I will say yes

Jake Wild-Hall

Poetry is our Dad

Jake Wild-Hall

The overall winner will receive £500, the second prize is £250, the third place will receive £100 and the East Midlands winner will receive £150.

All the writers on this year's shortlist will receive a complimentary ticket to the 2024 digital workshop series which is on sale now. More details can be found here.

The 2023 Poetry Prize winner will be announced on Friday 2nd February.



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