Michael Murphy Memorial Prize

MichaelMurphyThe inauguration of a new biennial prize for a distinctive first book of poetry in English published in Britain or Ireland was announced on National Poetry Day - October 8th - 2010 and the first prize was awarded on National Poetry Day 2011 at a ceremony at Bookmarks Bookshop in London.

The prize was established by colleagues at Nottingham Trent University in honour of the Liverpool-born poet Michael Murphy, who was 43 when he died of a brain tumour in May 2009.

Michael Murphy’s first volume of poetry, After Attila, appeared from Shoestring Press in 1998 when he was 33. Shoestring has published two subsequent collections, Elsewhere (2003) and Allotments (2008), and brought out a posthumous Collected Poems in 2011. In 2001 Michael was awarded the Geoffrey Dearmer Prize by Poetry Review as ‘New Poet of the Year’. The intention of the present prize is to extend the same recognition to another new poet.

2019 Michael Murphy Memorial Poetry Prize Competition

The winner will receive £1000. Volumes for consideration should have been published between January 2017 and December 2018 and be of book proportions (at least 48 pages in length, with spine and binding). Four copies of each volume should be submitted, one to the Chief Executive of the English Association and one to each of the judges.


Judges: Professor Deryn Rees-Jones, University of Liverpool; Professor Linda Anderson, Newcastle University; Dr Jonathan Ellis, University of Sheffield

View Shortlist and the winner will be announced on National Poetry Day 3 October 2019.

The prize-winning collection will be advertised and reviewed in the English Association Newsletter, the Association's journal English and on the Association's website. By agreement, a representative poem may be printed in one or more of these locations. The award of the prize and appropriate comments may be cited in any subsequent advertising.


2017 Winner

The 2017 Michael Murphy Memorial Poetry Prize has been awarded to Rebecca Perry for her collection Beauty/Beauty (Bloodaxe Books, 2015)

The judges said

we were impressed by the book's refreshing ambition and sophistication, its liveliness and bounce, and how rewarding the poems were as we read and re-read them.

Rebecca will received her £1000 prize at the English Association's Annual General Meeting on 23rd May 2018 at the British Academy, 10-11 Carlton House Terrace, London.

2017 Shortlist

Claire Askew, This Changes Things (Bloodaxe)

Nancy Campbell, Disko Bay (Enitharmon)

John Dennison, Otherwise (Carcanet)

Kate Miller, The Observances (Carcanet)

Rebecca Perry, Beauty/ Beauty (Bloodaxe)

2015 Prize

The winner of the 2015 competition was Hannah Lowe for her collection Chick [Bloodaxe Books] 8 October 2015. Hannah received her prize at the Association's 2016 Annual General Meeting at the British Academy.

Shortlist released [9 July 2015]

2013 Prize

The winner of the 2013 prize was Oli Hazzard for 'Between Two Windows' (Carcanet Press).

The winner was announced on National Poetry Day - 3 October 2013 - and the prize was awarded at the English Association-sponsored Poetry Cafe at the Cheltenham Literature Festival on 11 October,


The shortlist for the 2013 prize was announced on 3 June 2013. The shortlisted books are:

  • James Brookes, SINS OF THE LEOPARD (Salt)
  • Oli Hazzard, BETWEEN TWO WINDOWS (Carcanet)
  • Julith Jedamus, THE SWERVE (Carcanet)
  • William Letford, BEVEL (Carcanet)
  • Alistair Noon, EARTH RECORDS (Nine Arches)
  • Michelle O'Sullivan, THE BLUE END OF THE STARS (Gallery)
  • Maria Taylor, MELANCHRINI (Nine Arches)
  • Ahren Warner, CONFER (Bloodaxe)


2011 Winner

The winner of the 2011 award was Ciaran Berry for The Sphere of Birds (The Gallery Press). Read more . . .

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