Poetry Centre

2019 Winners and shortlist

  • International Poetry Competition 2019

    The Poetry Centre is excited to announce the winners of our competition, which this year was judged by the internationally-acclaimed and award-winning author Jackie Kay. Two top prizes of £1,000 were on offer in a competition that seeks to celebrate the great diversity of poetry being written in English all over the world.

    Poems were submitted in two categories: EAL category (open to all poets over 18 years of age who speak English as an Additional Language), and Open category (open to all poets over 18 years of age). We were delighted to receive a record number of entries this year by 650 poets from nearly 40 different countries. You can find the list of winners and the shortlisted poets below and read the winning poems.

    We will be holding the awards ceremony at Oxford Brookes University on the evening of Thursday 28 November, which will feature readings from some of the winning and shortlisted poets and from Jackie Kay. Everyone is welcome and we hope you will join us! Sign up to attend - for free.

    Jackie Kay was born and brought up in Scotland. The AdoptionPapers (Bloodaxe) won the Forward Prize, a Saltire prize and a Scottish Arts Council Prize. Fiere was shortlisted for the Costa award and her novel Trumpet won the Guardian Fiction Award and was shortlisted for the IMPAC award. Red Dust Road (Picador) won the Scottish Book of the Year Award, and the London Book Award, and was shortlisted for the JR Ackerley Prize. Her third collection of short stories, Reality, Reality, was praised by The Guardian as ‘rank[ing] among the best of the genre'. She was awarded an MBE in 2006, and made a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2002. Jackie Kay also writes for children and her book Red Cherry Red (Bloomsbury) won the CLYPE award. She has written extensively for stage and television. Her most recent poetry collection, Bantam, was published in 2017 to critical acclaim. She is Chancellor of the University of Salford and Professor of Creative Writing at Newcastle University. Jackie Kay was named Scots Makar - the National Poet for Scotland - in March 2016.

    Very many thanks indeed to all the poets who entered and to our judge! We much look forward to seeing some of you at the awards event on 28 November.


    Open category

    EAL category


    • ‘Perya’ by Romalyn Ante
    • ‘Police Report’ by Isabelle Baafi
    • ‘The L Word’ by Alison Binney
    • ‘O Respectability’ by Geraldine Clarkson
    • ‘The Waiting Room’ by Mary-Jane Holmes
    • ‘G45’ by Charles Lang
    • ‘Shades of Jamaica’ by Jenny Mitchell
    • ‘regret’ by Arjunan Manuelpillai
    • ‘Out at the estuary’ by Simon Murphy
    • ‘Temporary silence’ by Ruairi Paxman
    • ‘A favourite ornamental shrub among Europeans’ by Pnina Shinebourne
    • ‘What It Felt Like’ by Laura Theis
    • ‘In the Kitchen with Dad’ by Kostya Tsolákis