The Michael Marks Awards for Poetry Pamphlets 2023
Entries have closed
The Awards will be celebrated at the British Library on Wednesday 13th December 2023 and winners will be announced then.
Wordsworth Grasmere and The British Library, with the generous support of the Michael Marks Charitable Trust, present The Michael Marks Awards for Poetry Pamphlets, in partnership with The TLS and Harvard University’s Center for Hellenic Studies (CHS), in Washington DC and in Nafplio, Greece. The Awards are also in association with National Library of Scotland and the National Library of Wales.
The Awards aim to raise the profile of poetry pamphlets, recognising the enormous contribution these short publications make to the world of poetry, and to encourage poets and publishers both to develop and to continue creating.
There will be four Awards in 2023:
The Michael Marks Poetry Award recognises an outstanding poetry pamphlet published in the UK between September 24th 2022 and the closing date of September 22nd 2023. The judges will take into account the quality of the pamphlet as an object as well as the poetry, but the latter will be of most importance.
The winning poet will receive £5,000 and a winner’s residential trip to Greece in association with the Harvard Center for Hellenic Studies. The residency will take place in spring/summer/autumn 2024, exact date to be confirmed.
The Michael Marks Publisher’s Award recognises an outstanding UK publisher of poetry in pamphlet form, based on their publishing programme between September 24th 2022 and the closing date of September 22nd 2023. The judges will take into account the publishers’ philosophy, aims, plans, design ethos and marketing strategy as well as the quality of the poetry and physical pamphlets.
The winning publisher will receive £5,000.
Entrants to the Poetry and/or Publisher’s Awards should also submit, where possible, any pamphlet that includes illustrations alongside poems to the Illustration Award, which is judged entirely separately.
The Michael Marks Illustration Award recognises outstanding illustration of a poetry pamphlet published between September 24th 2022 and the closing date of September 22nd 2023. The judge will consider illustration in any medium and will be looking for a subtle and sustained relationship between image and text, as well as the overall quality of the images.
The winning illustrator will receive £1,000.
The Michael Marks Environmental Poet of the Year is a separate prize, now in its second year. Please see our separate information, rules and submission guidelines for this prize, and note in particular that the closing date is different: September 1st, 2023. The prize will be judged by a separate panel of judges. It will be given to the poet whose previously unpublished series of poems brings most powerfully, to a wide readership, the subject of the environment and the place of the human within it.
The Environmental Poet of the Year will have their portfolio of poems published in a pamphlet that will be sold by Wordsworth Grasmere and the British Library. They will also win a place on a 2024 Residential trip to Greece in association with the Harvard Center for Hellenic Studies, receive £1,000, and be invited to read at a winner’s event at Wordsworth Grasmere.
The Awards will be celebrated at a special hybrid Awards’ Night featuring the shortlisted poets and publishers, at the British Library on Wednesday 13th December 2023. The event will also be broadcast live online. A solely virtual event will be accessible in the case of the actual event being infeasible.
Entries for all awards are now closed
Closing date for submissions to Poetry, Publishers and Illustration Award: 4.00pm Friday September 22nd 2023. All pamphlets must have arrived in hard copy by this closing date and time, and all online forms must also have been completed.
Closing date for submissions to the Environmental Poet of the Year prize: Friday 1st September, midnight (see our separate guidelines and webpages for all information about this prize).
The closing dates are strict and no entries received after these dates will be considered.
“These inspired awards recognise that the pamphlet has a fundamental importance in literary culture far exceeding anything suggested by the dictionary – “a brief publication, generally having a paper cover”. For many of the best poets now writing it was not only their first means of distribution but the first ratification of their gift.”