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New poetry prize is tribute to benefactor John Ruskin

Poets seeking greater exposure for their work are being called on to submit a new poem for the inaugural Ruskin Prize which has been launched by the University of Roehampton’s Poetry Centre.

Posted: 24 September 2014

image for news story New poetry prize is tribute to benefactor John Ruskin
Fiona Sansom and David Harsent are pictured with University Vice-Chancellor Paul O'Prey and Head of English and Creative Writing, Laura Peters at the launch of the Roehampton Poetry Centre
Three prizes worth a total of £600 are on offer, and the first, second and third placed pieces will appear in Poem magazine, edited by eminent poet and critic Fiona Sampson, Professor of Poetry at the University. The distinguished poet and librettist David Harsent, who is Professor of Creative Writing at the University, will judge the competition. All entries will be anonimised and every entry will be read by Professor Harsent himself.

The works, which must be new, unpublished and not submitted for any other competitions, can be on any subject but must be no longer than 40 lines.

Professor Sampson said: “We want to discover three outstanding works and celebrate them by sharing them with Poem magazine’s international readership. We have not chosen a topic for this inaugural competition: instead, we welcome writing in every style and on any topic. We look forward to receiving some wonderful submissions and finding exciting new work, whether by new or established writers.”

The prize has been named after John Ruskin, a Victorian philanthropist, political economist and great supporter of the University’s Whitelands College, who was an early proponent of education for young women. Whitelands was established in 1841 to provide teacher training for women and still retains some of Ruskin’s possessions in its archives.

Dr Laura Peters, Head of the Department of English and Creative Writing at the University of Roehampton said: “The University takes the written word incredibly seriously, as did John Ruskin, and the launch of this new prize should act as a beacon to committed writers around the country looking for a focal point for ideas and language as art.”

Lyric, free verse, formal rhyming or urban poetry submissions are all welcome from first time writers, students and established authors, but must be received by the University before Saturday 1 November. Submissions can be made by searching for Ruskin Prize at Roehampton's estores web page. Initial entries cost £5, with subsequent poems at £3 each. A shortlist will be announced in mid-November and winners will be announced at an event hosted by the University of Roehampton at a London venue in December.

Both Professor Sampson and Professor Harsent will be appearing at Wimbledon BookFest next month, where they will lead a sold-out master class in creative writing. The University is the official higher education partner of the festival.

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