Newcastle University

James Berry Poetry Prize 2024

The Prize The James Berry Poetry Prize will assist young and/or emerging writers of colour with mentoring to help them develop their work, followed by publication of their debut book-length collection…

Art Prize

Opportunity Details

Closing Date

Jul 31, 2024

Location

United Kingdom

Artform

Writing and Publishing

The Prize

The James Berry Poetry Prize will assist young and/or emerging writers of colour with mentoring to help them develop their work, followed by publication of their debut book-length collection with Bloodaxe Books. Devised by Bernardine Evaristo, OBE, and Nathalie Teitler, the prize is modelled on The Complete Works mentoring programme previously supported by Arts Council England.

The prize is free to enter. It is open to poets of colour who have not yet published a book-length collection, with special consideration given to LGBTQ+/disabled poets and poets from underrepresented backgrounds. It is the first national poetry prize to include both mentoring and book publication.

A panel of judges will choose three equal winning poets. Each year the winning poets will be invited to take part in an annual James Berry Poetry Prize reading as part of the Newcastle Centre for Literary Arts events series.

The prize is generously funded this year by Bloodaxe Books covered by uplift in NPO grants specifically for inclusivity projects and run in partnership with Newcastle University.

James Berry (1927-2017)

The prize is named in honour of James Berry, OBE one of the first black writers in Britain to receive wider recognition. He emigrated from Jamaica in 1948, and took a job with British Telecom, where he spent much of his working life until he was able to support himself from his writing. He rose to prominence in 1981 when he won the National Poetry Competition.

His numerous books included two seminal anthologies of Caribbean-British poetry, Bluefoot Traveller (1976) and News for Babylon (Chatto & Windus, 1981), and A Story I Am In: Selected Poems (Bloodaxe Books, 2011), drawing on five earlier collections including Windrush Songs (2007), published to mark the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade.

For more information, visit Newcastle University