Poets from around the world are being invited to enter The Wigtown Poetry Prize, an annual celebration of poets and poems in the country’s three indigenous languages English, Scots & Gaelic.
The organisers have also revealed the list of judges for this year’s competition – which will have its award ceremony at Wigtown Book Festival, which runs from 22 September to 1 October.
Entries for the £1,500 Wigtown Poetry Prize (and £200 runners up award) are open to work in English, Scots or Scots Gaelic.
There are other categories specifically for Scots and Scottish Gaelic.
There is also the Alastair Reid Pamphlet Prize, (named in memory of one of Scotland’s foremost literary talents) which recognises a collection of work rather than individual poems.
The Fresh Voices Award is for poets living in, or from, Dumfries and Galloway who have never professionally published a full length collection.
The 2023 judges are:
- Wigtown Poetry Prize and Alastair Reid Pamphlet Prize – Donald S Murray (author and poet)
- Scots prize – Lennie Pennie (Scots language poet)
- Gaidhlig prize – Rody Gorman (renowned for his Scottish Gaelic poetry)
- Fresh Voices Award – Susi Briggs (author, poet, storyteller and musician).
Nicholas Walker, Wigtown Poetry Prize Group Chair, said: “The Wigtown Poetry Prize has a worldwide reputation as the champion of poetry in Scotland’s three indigenous languages.
“That’s reinforced by the quality of the entries, the excellence of our judges and the fabulous support we receive from organisations and individuals dedicated to Scotland, to promoting poetry and to strengthening our languages.
“As one of the UK’s best-established competitions, it has been the launchpad for many successful careers. And this year we are once again looking forward to celebrating the skill, imagination and insight of writers from Scotland and all around the globe.”
The Wigtown Poetry Prize is organised by the Wigtown Festival Company in association with The Gaelic Books Council, Moniack Mhor Writers’ Centre, Saltire Society, Scottish Poetry Library and StAnza – Scotland’s international poetry festival.
Alison Lang, Director of the Scottish Books Council, said: “Tha an fharpais seo a’ toirt cothrom air leth do sgrìobhadairean bàrdachd, agus tha cliù na duais seo air togail a thoirt do bhàird aig diofar ìrean sna dreuchdan aca. Tha sinn moiteil a bhith a’ toirt taic don dhuais Ghàidhlig a-rithist, agus tha sinn an dòchas gun cluinn sinn guthan ùra inntinneach am-bliadhna.”
“The competition provides an exceptional opportunity for writers of poetry, and this prestigious prize has encouraged many poets at various stages of their careers. We are proud to support the Gaelic prize once again and we hope to discover some exciting new voices this year.”
Sarah Mason, Executive Director of the Saltire Society, said: “The Saltire Society is pleased to be sponsoring the Wigtown Scots Poetry Competition in 2023. The strength and importance of Scotland’s languages is at the heart of Scottish culture and identities. Through prizes and projects such as this, we are ensuring our languages and the works in our languages are recognised and continue to flourish.
“It is fantastic to see Scots language poet Lennie Pennie as the Scots poetry judge this year and we are looking forward to seeing what new works the 2023 prize shines a licht on. Wigtown Book Festival have worked hard to ensure these prizes continued, even during the toughest or times and we are grateful to them for their hard work.”
A winner of one or more categories in this year’s competition will be selected at the discretion of StAnza, Scotland’s International Poetry Festival and Wigtown Festival Company to read at its 2024 event.
The Wigtown Poetry Prize is organised by the Wigtown Festival Company. Those entering Wigtown Scottish Gaelic and Wigtown Scots categories can also submit their poems to be considered for the Wigtown Prize free of charge.
The competition is open for entries and details can be found at www.wigtownpoetryprize.com. The competition closes on 31 May, with a prizegiving at Wigtown Book Festival in the autumn.