‘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

The Laurel Prize

First Prize – £5,000
Second Prize – £2,000
Third Prize – £1,000
Prize for Best First Collection – £500

Our Judges

Glyn Maxwell
Glyn Maxwell2022 Chair, Poet & Writer

Glyn Maxwell is a poet, playwright and librettist. His latest book of poems is How The Hell Are You (Picador) which was shortlisted for the T S Eliot Prize. He wrote the popular critical guidebook On Poetry (Oberon), and is currently writing a new English libretto for Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman for Opera UpClose. He is head of studies and teaches at The Poetry School and was the Chair of Judges for the 2021 Eliot Prize.

Tishani Doshi is a Welsh-Gujarati poet, novelist and dancer. She has published seven books of fiction and poetry, the most recent of which is A God at the Door (Bloodaxe Books), shortlisted for the Forward Poetry Prize 2021. For fifteen years she worked as a dancer with the Chandralekha group in Madras, India. She is currently a visiting associate professor at NYU Abu Dhabi.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Self

Tishani Doshi
Tishani DoshiPoet & Dancer
Elena Karina Byrne
Elena Karina ByrnePoet & Lecturer

Elena Karina Byrne: former Regional Director of the Poetry Society of America and final judges for the Kate and Kingsley Tufts Poetry Awards in Poetry, Elena’s a poet, essayist, screenwriter, the Programming Consultant & Poetry Stage Manager for The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, and Literary Programs Director for The Ruskin Art Club. Elena’s most recent books include If This Makes You Nervous (Omnidawn, 2021), and No Don’t (What Books Press, 2020).

Our Judges

Glyn Maxwell
Glyn Maxwell2022 Chair, Poet & Writer

Glyn Maxwell is a poet, playwright and librettist. His latest book of poems is How The Hell Are You (Picador) which was shortlisted for the T S Eliot Prize. He wrote the popular critical guidebook On Poetry (Oberon), and is currently writing a new English libretto for Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman for Opera UpClose. He is head of studies and teaches at The Poetry School and was the Chair of Judges for the 2021 Eliot Prize.

Tishani Doshi
Tishani DoshiPoet & Dancer

Tishani Doshi is a Welsh-Gujarati poet, novelist and dancer. She has published seven books of fiction and poetry, the most recent of which is A God at the Door (Bloodaxe Books), shortlisted for the Forward Poetry Prize 2021. For fifteen years she worked as a dancer with the Chandralekha group in Madras, India. She is currently a visiting associate professor at NYU Abu Dhabi.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Self

Elena Karina Byrne
Elena Karina ByrnePoet & Lecturer

Elena Karina Byrne: former Regional Director of the Poetry Society of America and final judges for the Kate and Kingsley Tufts Poetry Awards in Poetry, Elena’s a poet, essayist, screenwriter, the Programming Consultant & Poetry Stage Manager for The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, and Literary Programs Director for The Ruskin Art Club. Elena’s most recent books include If This Makes You Nervous (Omnidawn, 2021), and No Don’t (What Books Press, 2020).

Our Partners

Ginkgo Prize

Ginkgo Prize

Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Poetry School

Poetry School

The Poetry Archive

The Poetry Archive

Kamini & Vindi Banga Family Trust

Kamini & Vindi Banga Family Trust

Kamini & Vindi Banga Family Trust

Landscapes for Life

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