Judging these awards has been one of the high points of my career, and I am so excited to see what the winners do next

Jamie hale
An image of Jamie Hale, in duotone, They are wearing a black top, their wheelchair headrest cradles their head, and they are white, with dark hair and a dark beard. The duotone matches the golden colours of the site
Jamie Hale

Disabled Poets Prize 2024 Winners

The winners of the Disabled Poets Prize were announced at Deptford Literature Festival on 16 March 2024.

Winners were chosen in two categories.

Best Single Poem

The award for Best Single Poem 2024 goes to Gayathiri Kamalakanthan for Eating An Orange. In second place is Rachel Burns and her poem Blue Monday. Third place goes to Alex Mepham for Dark MatterCould this be how to love by Elizabeth Gibson, Ward 9 by Vera Yuen, and A Horse Walks into a Bar – After Tyrone Lewis by Dee Dickens were all highly commended by the judges.

Best Unpublished Pamphlet

Best Unpublished Pamphlet 2024 was awarded to Susie Wilson for Nowhere Near As Safe As A Snake In Bed. Second place goes to Anna Starkey for All These Frequencies, and third place to Amber Horne for So She SpokeExit Amours by Ozge Gozturk, Learning in Nine Keys by Norman Miller and Scar Tissue by Danne Jobin were all highly commended by the judges.

For both categories, first place prize was £500, second place £250, third place £100, and three highly commended entries were awarded £50.

Best Poem Performed in BSL

Sahera Khan’s poem My Eyes was highly commended by the judges in the category Best Poem Performed in BSL.

Judged by the UK’s BSL Poet Laureate Kabir Kapoor, a commendation award was given to a poet in the Best Poem performed in British Sign Language category. They will receive £300, an online editor one to one with The Literary Consultancy alongside free membership to their Being a Writer community platform, an online masterclass by Arvon and an online professional development session with CRIPtic Arts and Spread the Word.

The Prize offers significant professional development opportunities for the winning writers, including a publication deal with Verve Poetry Press for the best unpublished pamphlet as well as development prizes from The Literary Consultancy and Arvon Foundation.

The Disabled Poets Prize 2024 is supported by ALCS – the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society.

Watch the Awards

About the prize – BSL

BSL Interpreter Rinkoo Barpaga shares information about the Disabled Poets Prize in BSL

Congratulations to the 2024 Shortlisted Writers.

2024 Shortlist for Best Single Poem

Judged by Stephen Lightbown and Jamie Hale.

  • Alex Mepham – Dark Matter
  • Dee Dickens – A Horse Walks Into a Bar – After Tyrone Lewis
  • Elizabeth Gibson – Could this be how to love?
  • Gayathiri Kamalakanthan – Eating an Orange
  • Rachel Burns – Blue Monday
  • Vera Yuen – Ward 9

Longlist for Best Single Poem

  • Bec MacKenzie – Earthshine
  • Bethany Handley – When I Say I’m Tired
  • Caitlin Tina Jones – This is the Rhymney Line Refusing to Forgive Me for Leaving
  • Joe Rizzo Naudie – BLND
  • Katie O’Pray – Complications
  • Tanvir Bush – Now Death is Too Tired to Dance

2024 Shortlist for Best Unpublished Pamphlet

Judged by Pascale Petit and Jamie Hale.

  • Amber Horne – So She Spoke
  • Anna Starkey – All These Frequencies
  • Danne Jobin – Scar Tissue
  • Norman Miller – Learning in Nine Keys
  • Ozge Gozturk – Exit Armours
  • Susie Wilson – Nowhere Near As Safe As a Snake in Bed

Longlist for Best Unpublished Pamphlet

  • Cassandra Finch – Spectral Fires
  • Ellie Spirrett – Beast
  • Lewis Wood – Worse/Better/After
  • Dr Kane Holborn (member of Quills Anonymous) – Flâneur on Wheels
  • Maud Rowell – Funeral / Holiday
  • Ruth Yates – The Friend I Never Had

2024 Best Poem Performed in British Sign Language

A special commendation, awarded by Kabir Kapoor, will be given to a poet in the Best Poem Performed in BSL category at the announcement event.

Congratulations to all the poets and thank you to all those who entered. The judges enjoyed reading all your work.

About the prize

The UK’s first Disabled Poets Prize was launched in 2023 and looks to find the best work created by UK-based deaf and disabled poets, in written English and in British Sign Language.

Set up by Jerwood Fellow Jamie Hale, the Disabled Poets Prize is a collaboration between Spread the Word, Verve Poetry Press, and CRIPtic Arts in partnership with The Literary Consultancy and Arvon Foundation.

Deaf and disabled poets face significant barriers to developing their careers. The Disabled Poets Prize brings the work of the winning writers to new prominence, focusing attention on the exceptional work being produced by deaf and disabled writers. It is the first poetry prize in the UK specifically for deaf and disabled poets.