Judges 2024

Pascale is wearing an embroidered orange top and an orange and green necklace, she has silver braided hair and is looking straight at the camera. Stephen Lightbown Image: Stephen Lightbown, a white wheelchair user, wheelchair out of shot. He is a mid forties male, with short greying hair. He is smiling, has light stubble and is wearing a brown, white and navy top with a navy collar. He is sat against a brick wall painted with neon green, pink and blue street art. Jamie Hale Image: Jamie Hale, a white person with red hair and beard looks directly towards the camera with a confident smile. They sit in their electric wheelchair in front of vivid red/orange photographers banner, wearing black jeans, a ribbed black turtleneck and a silver floral blazer. A shock of bright pink and orange eyeshadow brings out their green eyes. Kabir Kapoor Image: Kabir is wearing a white shirt, pale blue jeans and a light brown fedora hat. He is standing high up on a hillside, sideways to the camera, looking out to and gesturing to sea.

Jamie Hale – Best single poem and Best unpublished pamphlet

Jamie is an award-winning theatre maker, poet, (screen)writer, charity CEO and founder and Artistic Director at CRIPticArts. They focus creatively on crip- and queer- realities, and the urgency of living as a disabled person.

Their poetry pamphlet, Shield was published in 2021, and read by Jack Thorne in the 2021 MacTaggart lecture, calling them as an “extraordinary voice”. Their solo poetry film, NOT DYING, was described as “fantastic” by Hannah Gadsby.

In 2021, they were awarded the Jerwood Poetry Fellowship, and won Director/Theatremaker of the Year Award for NOT DYING  in the Evening Standard Future Theatre Fund Awards.

Jamie founded CRIPtic x Spread the Word online retreat for deaf and disabled writers in 2020, and ran it in 2021. They have been published in magazines including Magma and the Rialto, guest-edited the Bodies issue of Modern Poetry in Translation, and are working on their first full poetry collection.

“I’m delighted that the Disabled Poets’ Prize is moving into its second year – it’s such a privilege to be encountering such excellent work, and I look forward enormously to receiving it”.

Jamie Hale, disabled poets prize founder and judge

Pascale Petit – Best unpublished pamphlet 

Pascale Petit was born in Paris and lives in Cornwall. She is of French, Welsh, and Indian heritage. Her eighth collection of poetry, Tiger Girl (Bloodaxe, 2020), was shortlisted for the Forward Prize and for Wales Book of the Year. Her seventh, Mama Amazonica (Bloodaxe, 2017), won the inaugural Laurel Prize and the RSL Ondaatje Prize. Four previous collections were shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize.  Pascale was a co-founder of The Poetry School, and has been Chair of the T.S. Eliot Prize and the Laurel Prize. Her debut novel, My Hummingbird Father, is due from Salt in 2024. http://www.pascalepetit.co.uk/

“I’m delighted to be a judge for this inspiring and vital initiative founded by Jamie Hale, which takes us a step further towards a fully inclusive poetry culture. I’m excited to read the entries and to be part of a scheme that encourages and highlights the work of talented disabled poets. Becoming a poet is hard enough, without the barriers disabled poets face, and this award will work towards dissolving that inequality.”

Pascale petit, disabled poets prize 2024 judge

Stephen Lightbown – Best single poem

Stephen Lightbown is a Blackburn-born, Bristol-based poet and disability rights champion. Paralysed following an accident in 1996 when he was sixteen, Stephen uses his poems to give a voice to his disability. He has spoken at events across the UK and at festivals such as Shambala, WOMAD, Verve Poetry Festival and Lyra Bristol Poetry Festival. In addition, Stephen has read internationally in San Antonio, Texas. His poems have been widely anthologised, and is the author of two poetry collections Only Air and The Last Custodian, both published by Burning Eye Books. In September 2023 he will publish his first poetry book for children, And I climbed, And I Climbed, through Troika Books. He lives in Bristol in the UK, and in November will represent England for the second time at the ISA World Para Surf Championships in California.


“I am truly honoured to have been asked to judge these awards. There are many barriers to deaf and disabled poets having their poetry read by a wider audience. Access to mainstream poetry prizes, and the recognition and exposure that comes with them, is just one of those barriers. There are many poetry prizes across the UK and beyond and yet this is the only Prize of its type available to deaf and disabled poets in the UK. This makes this an essential Prize.”

stephen lightbown, disabled poets prize 2024 judge

Kabir Kapoor – Best poem performed in BSL

German-born Kabir is a poet, visual language artist and designer. In 2023 he became the British Deaf Association’s first UK BSL Poet Laureate. He uses beautiful, expressive and comical signed poetry presented purely in a visual form for both deaf and hearing audiences to enjoy. Kabir has directed, produced and participated in performances both here in the UK and around the world.