Michael Marks Awards for Poetry Pamphlets

The Michael Marks Awards celebrates the poetry pamphlet as a format which supports innovation in UK poetry. Established in 2009, the annual awards include prizes for Poetry Pamphlet, Publisher and Illustration.

Published date:

2018 is a celebration of the 10th awards with a series of events including an evening recital on Monday 10th December.

This year, we are excited to announce a new prize for poetry in a Celtic language. We are very pleased to be able to extend our awards, so that they encompass poetry pamphlets published in the UK in Welsh, Scottish Gaelic, Irish, Cornish and Manx Gaelic.

The Michael Marks Poetry award, now entering its 10th year, is open to pamphlets written in English, Scots and dialects of English and Scots.

The poets of the winning pamphlets will be the 2019 Harvard University’s Michael Marks Poet in Residence at its summer activities in Greece.

The call for entries for the 2018 award are now open, and will close on Thursday 13th September. Full details and entry forms can be found on the Wordsworth Trust website.


Poetry and Publishers’ Awards

Sasha Dugdale is a poet, translator and editor. She has published four collections of poetry, most recently Joy (Carcanet, 2017), the title poem of which won the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem in 2016. She has translated many Russian contemporary women poets, including Elena Shvarts, and is former editor of Modern Poetry in Translation. She has received a Cholmondeley Award for her poetry. She lives and works in Sussex.

Rachel Foss is Head of Contemporary Archives and Manuscripts at the British Library. She has curated numerous exhibitions at the British Library including ‘In A Bloomsbury Square’: T.S. Eliot the Publisher, Writing Britain: Wastelands to Wonderlands and Gay UK: Love, Law and Liberty. She has published various articles on literary archives and collecting and is Chair of the Group for Literary Archives and Manuscripts (GLAM), a national network for professional archivists and curators working with literary collections.

Declan Ryan is a poet and critic. He was born in Mayo, Ireland and lives in London. His debut pamphlet was published in the Faber New Poets series in 2014. He reviews regularly for the TLS, Los Angeles Review of Books, and elsewhere. 

Celtic Language Award

Dafydd Pritchard is Access to Collections Manager at the National Library of Wales. A poet, who won the Crown at the National Eisteddfod of Wales in 1996 and has published two volumes of poetry. He has been on the panel of judges for the Crown competition on two occasions and is a frequent reviewer. He served for five years as Chair of Barddas, the national poetry society and publisher.

Aonghas Phàdraig Caimbeul is an award-winning writer. His poetry collection ‘Aibisidh’ won the Scottish Poetry Book of the Year Award in 2011 and his novel ‘Memory and Straw’ the Saltire Society Scottish Fiction Book of the Year for 2017. A native Gaelic speaker from South Uist, his Gaelic novel ‘An Oidhche Mus Do Sheòl Sinn’, which is widely regarded as a modern classic, was publicly voted into the Top Ten Best-Ever Books from Scotland in the Orange/List Awards in 2007.

David Wheatley is a poet and Reader at the University of Aberdeen, with research interests in contemporary poetry, Irish literature and Samuel Beckett. He was 2015 judge for the National Poetry Competition, and founding editor of the poetry journal Metre. His 1997 collection, Thirst (Gallery Press), won the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature and most recent collection, The President of Planet Earth, was published by Carcanet press in 2017.

Illustration Award

Sir Nicholas Penny was Director of the National Gallery, London from 2008 to 2015. Other positions have included lecturer in art history at the University of Manchester, Keeper of the Department of Western Art at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, Clore Curator of Renaissance Painting at the National Gallery London, and Senior Curator of Sculpture and Decorative Arts at the National Gallery of Art, Washington. He is the author of many books and articles on both painting and sculpture, including Raphael (with Roger Jones), Taste and the Antique (with Francis Haskell) and The Materials of Sculpture.

Award winners

Past winners of the Poetry Award are:

2017 Charlotte Wetton. I Refuse to Turn into a Hatstand. Calder Valley Poetry.
2016 Richard Scott. Wound. The Rialto.
2015 Gill McEvoy. The First Telling. HappenStance.
2014 Laura Scott. What I Saw. The Rialto.
2013 David Clarke. Gaud. Flarestack Poets.
2012 Róisín Tierney. Dream Endings. Rack Press.
2011 James McGonigal. Cloud Pibroch. Mariscat.
2010 Selima Hill. Advice on Wearing Animal Prints. Flarestack Poets. 
2009 Elizabeth Burns. The Shortest Days: elegies im DGB and PGH. Galdragon Press.

The 2017 Publisher Award winner was The Poetry Business. Previous winners have been: The Emma Press, Mariscat, Rack, Flarestack Poets, Smith Doorstop, Crater, Happenstance and Oystercatcher.

The Illustration Award began in 2015. The three winners so far have been:

2017 Rose Ferraby, The Tender Map (Melanie Challenger) Guillemot Press.

2016 Mairead Dunne, The Clearing (Luke Thompson), Atlantic Press
2015 Mat Osmond, Deadman and Hare 1: Fly Sings, Strandline Books

You can listen to readings from winners and shortlisted poets on Soundcloud


Award partners

The awards were co-founded by the Michael Marks Charitable Trust with the British Library. Partners for 2017 are: the Michael Marks Charitable Trust, the British Library, The Wordsworth Trust, the Times Literary Supplement and the Harvard Center for Hellenic Studies. The award for Poetry in a Celtic language is in association with the National Library of Wales and the National Library of Scotland.