“We are facing the most catastrophic threat to the future of our planet that we have ever encountered.

Over the course of my ten year Laureateship I want one of the headline projects to be a prize or award that recognises and encourages the resurgence of nature and environmental writing, currently taking place in poetry.

The new wave of nature writing in non-fiction has been well documented over recent years but not enough attention has been paid to a similar move in poetry, with climate crisis and environmental concerns clearly provoking this important strand of work.

I am establishing The Laurel Prize as an annual award for the best collection of nature or environmental poetry to highlight the climate crisis and raise awareness of the challenges and potential solutions at this critical point in our planet’s life. The Prize will dovetail and partner with The Ginkgo Prize which rewards best single poems.

In celebrating and rewarding this work, the Prize aims to encourage more of it, and to become part of the discourse and awareness about our current environmental predicament. The first Prize giving ceremony will take place on May 23rd, 2020 at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park and take the form of an entire day of debate, activity, workshops and more.

I will donate my annual Laureate Honorarium of £5,000 towards the prize money each year.”

Simon Armitage, Poet Laureate

Our Judges

Simon Armitage
Simon ArmitageUK Poet Laureate

Simon Armitage is the UK Poet Laureate and was Oxford Professor of Poetry (2015-2019). His numerous accolades include an Ivor Novello Award for song-writing in the BAFTA-winning film Feltham Sings and the 2018 Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry. Armitage has published 28 collections of poetry, including his latest, Sandettie Light Vessel Automatic, and his acclaimed translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. He also writes extensively for television and radio, and is the author of two novels and the non-fiction bestsellers All Points North, Walking Home and Walking Away. His theatre works include The Last Days of Troy, performed at Shakespeare’s Globe, London, in 2014. He was appointed Professor of Poetry at Leeds University in 2017.

www.simonarmitage.com

Image Credit: Peter James Millson

Robert Macfarlane is the author of books about landscape, people, place and nature, including Mountains of the Mind, The Wild Places, The Old Ways, Landmarks and Underland. His The Lost Words: A Spell-Book, with the artist Jackie Morris, is widely used in primary and secondary schools across Britain. His work has been widely adapted for film, music, stage and radio. He is a Fellow of Emmanuel College, Cambridge.

Robert Macfarlane
Robert MacfarlaneAuthor
Moniza Alvi
Moniza AlviAward Winning Poet

Moniza Alvi was born in Lahore in 1954. She now lives in Norfolk. Her poetry collections include The Country at My Shoulder (OUP, 1993) which was shortlisted for the Whitbread and the T.S. Eliot poetry prizes, Europa (Bloodaxe, 2008) and At the Time of Partition (Bloodaxe, 2013), both also shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize. Her most recent full-length collection is Blackbird, Bye Bye (Bloodaxe, 2018), a book unified by birds and inspired by her parents, the loss of her father and by his emigration from Pakistan.

Image Credit: Daniella Szendro – www.flickr.com/photos/daniellaszendro

Our Judges

Simon Armitage
Simon ArmitageUK Poet Laureate

Simon Armitage is the UK Poet Laureate and was Oxford Professor of Poetry (2015-2019). His numerous accolades include an Ivor Novello Award for song-writing in the BAFTA-winning film Feltham Sings and the 2018 Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry. Armitage has published 28 collections of poetry, including his latest, Sandettie Light Vessel Automatic, and his acclaimed translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. He also writes extensively for television and radio, and is the author of two novels and the non-fiction bestsellers All Points North, Walking Home and Walking Away. His theatre works include The Last Days of Troy, performed at Shakespeare’s Globe, London, in 2014. He was appointed Professor of Poetry at Leeds University in 2017.

www.simonarmitage.com

Image Credit: Peter James Millson

Robert Macfarlane
Robert MacfarlaneAuthor

Robert Macfarlane is the author of books about landscape, people, place and nature, including Mountains of the Mind, The Wild Places, The Old Ways, Landmarks and Underland. His The Lost Words: A Spell-Book, with the artist Jackie Morris, is widely used in primary and secondary schools across Britain. His work has been widely adapted for film, music, stage and radio. He is a Fellow of Emmanuel College, Cambridge.

Moniza Alvi
Moniza AlviAward Winning Poet

Moniza Alvi was born in Lahore in 1954. She now lives in Norfolk. Her poetry collections include The Country at My Shoulder (OUP, 1993) which was shortlisted for the Whitbread and the T.S. Eliot poetry prizes, Europa (Bloodaxe, 2008) and At the Time of Partition (Bloodaxe, 2013), both also shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize. Her most recent full-length collection is Blackbird, Bye Bye (Bloodaxe, 2018), a book unified by birds and inspired by her parents, the loss of her father and by his emigration from Pakistan.

Image Credit: Daniella Szendro – www.flickr.com/photos/daniellaszendro

Our Partners

Ginkgo Prize

Ginkgo Prize

Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Poetry School

Poetry School

Poetry School is a registered charity and a proud member of Arts Council England’s National Portfolio Organisations.

The Prize is supported by the Poet Laureate’s Honorarium, a Founder Patron and lover of poetry and a variety of other individual donors and trusts and foundations. Without their generosity, the Prize would not be possible.

Logo designed by Clive Hicks-Jenkins