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How you can enter the Disabled Poets Prize

Jamie Hale
Jamie Hale Image credit: thebookseller.com

A development agency has joined forces with poet and theatre maker Jamie Hale (pictured above) for the inaugural Disabled Poets Prize.

The competition, run by Spread the Word, is billed as the UK’s only award focusing on poetry written by disabled people and creative minds living with hearing loss.

Supported by Verve Poetry Press, Verve Poetry Festival and CRIPtic Arts the contest is accepting pieces of work written in English and British Sign Language.

Applicants can submit their masterpieces into one of three categories, best unpublished pamphlet, best single poem and best poem performed in British Sign Language for the chance to win a cash prize of £500 (first place), £250 (second place) or £100 (third).

All winners will also be offered professional development opportunities which include a publication deal with Verve Poetry Press and development prizes from the Literary Consultancy and Arvon Foundation.

In addition to the prize categories three poets will be highly commended and win £50 each.

Hale said: “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.”

Director of Spread the Word Ruth Harrison said: “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, said: "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.”

For more information on the Disabled Poets Prize visit the Spread the Word website.