Disabled Poets Prize: The Listed Writers

We are delighted to announce the shortlist for the Disabled Poets Prize 2023. The Disabled Poets Prize 2023 was founded by Jamie Hale, with CRIPtic Arts, Spread the Word, and Verve Poetry Press and Festival. The 2023 Prize was supported by a private donation from Jamie Hale.  The Prize aims to nurture, encourage, and celebrate the talents and successes of deaf and disabled poets. 

Find out more about the shortlisted and longlisted writers below.

Best Single Poem Shortlist for the Disabled Poets Prize 2023

Jennifer Brough – Metaphors

Bio: Jennifer Brough (she/they) is a workshop facilitator and slow writer based in Nottingham. She writes fiction, reviews, and personal essays exploring the body, gender, pain, art and literature. She is working on an essay collection and a poetry pamphlet entitled Occult Pain. Jennifer has been published in print and online outlets, including Luna Luna Magazine, Artsy, SICK Magazine, and Blanket Sea. She has short stories forthcoming in Ache Magazine (‘After Before’) and as part of an exhibition at The Feminist Library (‘the rock in the sea’). Her most recent poems were published in Lvndr Zine and dear damsels. Her latest creative non-fiction essays were published in Keppel Health Review and Life Continues After. A very long time ago she was Birmingham’s Second Young Poet Laureate (2006-2007). Jennifer is also involved in projects centred on disability/illness and feminism and is the founding member of resting up collective, an interdisciplinary sick group of artists. Her writing workshops feed into her praxis and include: Writing the Female Surrealist Body, which blends art writing and personal narratives with a series of writing exercises and visual prompts, including imagery from Dorothea Tanning, Luchita Hurtado, and Dominique Fung. Jennifer introduced disability justice theory to complicate the traditional European surrealist lens and asked participants how we can rewrite our bodies collectively and individually. Tools of Rest, which offers practical tools to introduce resting through creative practice into the everyday. Through writing exercises, discussing readings and collective imagining, resting up collective worked with participants to envisage a world in which rest is as important as working.

Lea Elm – Paper Houses

Bio: I am a Danish writer, living in South East England. I have been writing since I was a child, including scattered poetry and studied Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies at university at both BA and MA degree level. Until recently I have been writing mostly prose and non-fiction in the form of essays and novellas. I have recently started to write more poetry as a way to process and recover from what has been traumatic recent years, including experiencing discrimination as a disabled and hearing-impaired person in two separate workplaces. I am bilingual and writing in my second language. I have had a short story published in an independently published zine. 

Jamie Field – How to Sign a Playground

Bio: With poems published in Banshee, Abriged, Magma and elsewhere Jamie Field is a Poetry Ireland Introductions recipient 2021. He has a MA in Poetry from Queen’s University, Belfast. He is originally from Pontefract, West Yorkshire. He is deaf.

Moira Garland – After listening to Evelyn Glennie’s TED talk: How to Truly Listen

Bio: Moira Garland is a prize-winning poet, and fiction writer, with poetry published in magazines including Stand, The North, Dreamcatcher, Consilience, and Sarasvati. Her work appears in anthologies such as And the Stones Fell Open, When All This Is Over, and At the Edge of all Storms. She won the Poised Pen Another Place competition (2015), and the Leeds Poetry Peace Prize (2016), and her work has been commended in other competitions. Her poem was highly commended in the YorkMix Poems For Children Competition (2021). Her poetry has also appeared on the Wakefield Moonriver (2019) celebrating the 1969 moon landing, and has been set to music by Freya Ireland as part of the 2019 Leeds Lieder Festival. She is interested in writing about a broad range of issues, particularly social and political justice.

Katherine Goda – A is for Anger

Bio: Katharine Goda is a poet and creative facilitator. Her poems have appeared in The North (forthcoming), Live Canon 2021 International Poetry Competition anthology, The High Window, Fenland Poetry Journal, Blue Nib, The Result Is What You See Today (Smith│Doorstop), Play (The Broadsheet), Life of Breath and Café Writers Poem of the month. She recently worked with Paper Nations to transform one of her poems into a film poem. Awards include Highly Commended in the Blue Nib Chapbook and Otley Poetry Prizes, Commended in the YorkMix and Settle Sessions Competitions, an ACE Developing Your Creative Practice Award to consolidate her writing practice and explore creative facilitation with women in prison and new mothers, and a Northern Writers’ Award. She relishes working collaboratively and creatively, believing passionately in the power of words to challenge, include and inspire.

Ruth Yates – School on Saturday

Bio: Ruth is a poet based in Sheffield. She has had work published in anthologies, including ‘Introduction X: The Poetry Business Book of New Poets’, in online projects including the Writing Squad ‘Staying at Home’ project, and ‘A Diary of Windows and Small Things’, and in magazines including The North, Mslexia supplement, Route 57, and Pennine Platform. She has performed poems about mental health at Queen Mary University of London’s Mad Hearts conference 2021; Radical Body Arts scratch night June 2021; and University of Central Lancashire’s ‘Radical Perspectives on Mental Health’. She won the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award four times, was shortlisted for the Resurgence Ecopoetry prize 2017, and has had poems shortlisted for the Eric Gregory Award.

Best Unpublished Pamphlet Shortlist for the Disabled Poets Prize 2023

Judged by Peter Raynard and Jamie Hale

Rebecca Ferrier – A Diet of Leeches

Bio: Rebecca Ferrier is an award-winning writer and poet based in Edinburgh. Her prose has been published in ‘New Gothic Review’ (forthcoming), ‘Northwords Now’ and ‘Gutter’, while her poetry has featured in ‘Lighthouse’, ‘West Word Revue’ (forthcoming) and ‘Raceme’ (forthcoming). She is in the final editing stages of a historical fiction novel, which is themed around the ocean, chronic illness and feminism.

Noemi Gunea – Twelve Steps Behind

Bio: Noemi is a neurodiverse Romanian writer and performance artist based in London. She makes up half of performance duo Cheap Thrills, for whom she has co-written three plays and several short films. Their radio play ‘Free Your Mind’ was shortlisted for a BBC Audio Drama Award in 2020. She has recently been working on this collection of poetry and on my debut novel.

Justina Hart – Remapping

Bio: Justina Hart is a poet and fiction writer, whose poems have been shortlisted in the Poetry School’s national pamphlet competition and widely anthologized. She won first prize in the 2022 Wolves Lit Fest poetry competition and first prize in the long poem category of the 2020 Second Light competition. Justina is currently writing a book of water- and climate change-themed poetry and memoir with funding from an Arts Council England Developing Your Creative Practice award. She has reviewed for Agenda and Artemis magazines and is a member of NAWE’s Writing in Education magazine editorial board.

Katherine Moss – The Still Point

Bio: Katherine Moss finished her MA in Creative Writing at The Manchester Writing School in October 2022. Her most recent work explores truth and mythology in family heritage with a particular interest in the Irish Diaspora of the 20th Century. Katherine’s work also reflects upon her own attempts to find a better life abroad as a disabled young woman and mother. New to the poetry world, her poem ‘St Francis’ Satyr’ was published in the journal ‘Consilience’ in October 2022. In 2020 her script monologue, ‘Linda’s Shield’ was performed online by The Garrick Theatre, a story that reflected the devastating impact of high Covid-19 mortality rates for the elderly and disabled people in the UK. She recently worked as a volunteer editor on a Children’s book of short stories by young people from the Care system in the UK. The book. ‘Tales of the Bold, the Brave and the Beautiful’, was published in June 2022. In May 2022 she was awarded a writing bursary from Manchester Metropolitan University International Department to produce poetry based on the life experience of British residents and UK residents of Chinese descent for an Arts exhibition at the university in September 2022.

Shloka Ramachandran – Remapping

Bio: Shloka Ramachandran is a writer and MFA student from Mumbai, currently based at St Andrews, Scotland. She enjoys tea, the poetics of chronic illness, and long walks on the beach.

Katie Simpson – Wander 

Bio: Born in Essex (UK) Katie slowly hopped her way northwards into Suffolk, landing by the banks of the beautiful River Deben. She first made her home there on a small, aging wooden boat, eventually supplementing this with a small, aging house and now happily divides her time between the land and the water. Her love for the special place she calls home infuses everything she writes. For years, Katie indulged her love of writing through her work as a schoolteacher. Loss and ill health propelled her into a transformative journey through yoga, meditation and writing. Having completed an MA in creative writing, Katie now combines writing with her teaching roles. Katie has recently had a micro poem published in the wonderful book Happiness Comes in Waves. She had was awarded the 2nd place prize in the Create the Future writing competition, with her work due to appear in an exciting anthology. She has also won prizes in local writing competitions and as been published in the online journals Blue House Journal and Green Ink Poetry.

The Longlisted Writers

The Disabled Poets Prize judges and team would like to congratulate the longlisted writers. 

Best single poem longlist 

Colin Dardis – A Dream of Bogwood

Bio: Colin Dardis is a neurodivergent poet, editor and sound artist from Northern Ireland. His work, largely influenced by his experiences with depression and Asperger’s, has been published widely throughout Ireland, the UK and USA. His latest book is Apocrypha: Collected Early Poems (Cyberwit, 2022). His latest album is Funerealism (Inner Demons Records, 2022).

Elizabeth Gibson – The other planet
Elizabeth Gibson is a queer, neurodivergent poet and performer in Manchester. She has won a New North Poets Prize at the Northern Writers’ Awards, and her poems have appeared in Confingo, Lighthouse, Magma, Popshot, Queerlings, and Under the Radar, She has worked with Manchester Literature Festival, Manchester Pride, Islington Mill, The Portico Library, Oldham Coliseum, and Yorkshire Dance. In 2021, she was awarded a Developing Your Creative Practice grant from Arts Council England. She is on Twitter and Instagram as @Grizonne.

Naoise Gale – Fable

Bio: Naoise Gale is a lyrical poet from West Yorkshire, who writes about her experiences with psychosis, mental illness and neurodivergence. Her debut pamphlet After the Flood Comes the Apologies was published by Nine Pens in 2021, and her first full collection IMPLODE EXPLODE was published by Beir Bua Press in 2022. She is currently studying an MA in Creative Writing Poetry at UEA. You can find more of her work on twitter at @NaoiseGale13.

Paula Knight – In Real Life

Bio: Paula is an author, former children’s illustrator and comics creator. Her graphic memoir, The Facts of Life (Myriad 2017) reached the shortlist of Myriad’s inaugural First Graphic Novel Competition. She is the author of three children’s picture books. Paula’s poetry has been published online. She has very severe ME/ energy impairment disability and uses assistive technology to write. Her work explores disability, chronic illness/ pain, nature and her exile from the world outside. http://www.paulaknight.co.uk Twitter: @Paula_JKnight IG: @paulajkstudio

Imogen McHugh – The Strange Creatures

Bio: Imogen McHugh is a disabled poet from Norwich, England. ‘A King’s Bones’, her first published book of poetry, arrived in 2022. In 2021 she was featured on BBC Radio 4’s ‘New Frequencies’ programme. Her writing aims to find peace in the past and present.

Kathryn O’Driscoll – A Brief Period of Instability

Bio: Kathryn O’Driscoll is queer, neurodivergent and disabled poet from Bath. She was the 2021 U.K. slam champion and a World Slam Finalist from Bath. She was longlisted for the Outspoken Prize for Performance Poetry, and the Saboteur Award for Best Spoken Word Artist in 2022. In 2021 she was one of the featured poets on the (BAFTA winning) Sky Arts spoken word TV show Life and Rhymes. Her debut collection ‘Cliff Notes’ was released by Verve Poetry Press in February.

Best unpublished pamphlet longlist

One Inky Queer – Keeping Mum

Trauma poet keeping it light. Reanna has been published in Ergi Press’s Loki anthology, Inksac by Cephalo Press and Muswell Press’s ‘Queer Life Queer Love: The Second Anthology’. They were shortlisted for the Zealous Amplify creative prize. Reanna has performed at Orpington Literary Festival, Shambala Festival slam and Extra Second London. They are Creative Director of two queer poetry nights: @QueerThe Mic in Brighton and @PoetryMeetQT online.

Fiona Roberson – Nature is Nurture

Fiona is a performance poet and writer in the North East of Scotland, as respite from her political work. Her poetry explores her somewhat chaotic interests, from disability to physics, feminism to the landscapes she grew up in, science to cats. She was commissioned by Hysteria as part of Amplify! to write a poetry and practical tips guide to adapting to new disability called “Your Life Is Not Over: A Book Of Apocalypses And How To Survive Them”, and she has performed at festivals, the Edinburgh Fringe, and with Loud Poets and the Pandemonialists.

Karis Williamson – Iamborn

Karis Williamson is a twenty-four year old poet and script writer from Inverness; she gained her B.A. hons. (Open) specialising in Creative Writing and the Classics in 2020.  She has commenced her ‘poetry apprenticeship’ attending the former New Statesman poet Bill Greenwell’s poetry clinics and participating in online Arvon and Live Canon poetry masterclasses.  Karis has also been mentored by the Bloodaxe published poet Aoife Lyall (2022) and is currently participating in the ‘Birds of Paradise Young Artists Digital Project’; one of her poems will feature in a BOPYA short film later this year (2023); she also collaborated on the film script itself.  Karis is currently setting her poems to her own poetry films. She has previously taken part in projects with National Theatre Scotland (‘Hacks for the Future’ (2018) and ‘Dear Europe’ (2019)).  Karis has not submitted her poetry widely as yet but was invited to contribute to a tribute anthology for the poet Bill Greenwell Notes In Blue (2021); her poem Sculpting Stanzas appears there.  As an ambassador for the charity Euan’s Guide, she has also written reviews and blogs for them.

Ruth Yates – Her Knitted Cardigan

Bio: Ruth is a poet based in Sheffield. She has had work published in anthologies, including ‘Introduction X: The Poetry Business Book of New Poets’, in online projects including the Writing Squad ‘Staying at Home’ project, and ‘A Diary of Windows and Small Things’, and in magazines including The North, Mslexia supplement, Route 57, and Pennine Platform. She has performed poems about mental health at Queen Mary University of London’s Mad Hearts conference 2021; Radical Body Arts scratch night June 2021; and University of Central Lancashire’s ‘Radical Perspectives on Mental Health’. She won the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award four times, was shortlisted for the Resurgence Ecopoetry prize 2017, and has had poems shortlisted for the Eric Gregory Award.