‘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 have established 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.
Building on the success of its inaugural year, the Laurel Prize will now become an international award for nature poetry written in English. This is also a way of recognising the global importance of environmentalism, and drawing together concerned voices from across the planet.
I will donate my annual Laureate Honorarium of £5,000 towards the prize money each year.
Simon Armitage., Poet Laureate