NPC 2014 Judges
L-R: Roddy Lumsden, Glyn Maxwell (credit: Kelly Hill), Zoë Skoulding

Roddy Lumsden is a poet, editor and tutor. His five collections include Yeah Yeah Yeah (Bloodaxe, 1997), shortlisted for the Forward Prize for the Best First Collection, and The Book of Love (Bloodaxe, 2000), shortlisted for both the T.S. Eliot Prize and the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize. Terrific Melancholy, his latest, was published by Bloodaxe in 2011; his seventh collection is due from Bloodaxe this autumn. He is the Series Editor of Salt’s The Best British Poetry anthologies. He lives in London where he teaches for the Poetry School and independently. He also works as a puzzle and quiz writer, and as a compiler and editor of popular reference books.

Glyn Maxwell is a poet and playwright. He has won several awards for his poetry, including the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize for The Nerve (2004). His work has been short-listed several times for the T.S. Eliot, Forward and Costa Prizes. Pluto (Picador, 2013), his latest collection, was shortlisted for the Forward. His acclaimed critical guide, On Poetry (2012), is taught at schools and universities in the UK and the USA. His plays include The Lifeblood (‘Best Play’, British Theatre Guide, Edinburgh Fringe 2004) and Liberty (Shakespeare’s Globe, 2008). The opera The Firework Maker’s Daughter, for which he wrote the libretto, was nominated for Best New Opera in this year’s Olivier Awards.

“I would expect to admire a poem that, first of all, could not be prose. One in which the breaks and spaces are part of the work. I would admire a show of independence. I would enjoy surprise, music, and a sense that the words are treasured for sound and look, not just for meaning. That the words are well-treated, part of the trade union. I would not like anything I’ve heard before. I would not enjoy slavish adherence to rhyme and metre, nor slavish rejection of them. I would like something to come at me from an angle I do not expect, so that I have to turn and open mind and body to receive it. I hope we discover some beautiful voices.”


Zoë Skoulding is a poet, translator, editor and critic. She has published four collections of poetry, most recently The Museum of Disappearing Sounds (Seren, 2013), which was shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry. Poems from Remains of a Future City (Seren, 2008) have been widely translated. She has performed her work at many international festivals, often incorporating electronic sound in her readings as well as collaborating with musicians. She was Editor of Poetry Wales, 2008-2014, and is Senior Lecturer in the School of English at Bangor University.

“I’ll be listening out for language that changes the patterns of my thinking and makes a new place for me as a reader to inhabit. I’m not looking for poems that aim to represent the world or a feeling in ways I can immediately recognise, but those that use language to explore what experience is made of in as many dimensions as possible.”


Past judges

2013: Julia Copus, Matthew Sweeney, Jane Yeh
2012: Vicki Feaver, W.N. Herbert, Nick Laird
2011: Colette Bryce, John Glenday, Jackie Kay
2010: Sinéad Morrissey, Deryn Rees-Jones, George Szirtes
2009: Ruth Padel, Neil Rollinson, Daljt Nagra
2008: Brian Patten, Frieda Hughes, Jack Mapanje
2007: E.A.Markham, Michael Schmidt, Penelope Shuttle
2006: John Burnside, Lee Harwood, Alice Oswald
2005: Alison Brackenbury, Bernardine Evaristo, Mark Ford
2004: Ciaran Carson, Elaine Feinstein, Simon Smith, Denis MacShane MP (chair)
2003: Paul Farley, Medbh McGuckian, Grace Nichols, Debbie Taylor (chair)
2002: Simon Armitage, Suzi Feay, Selima Hill, Hugo Williams
2001: Jean ‘Binta’ Breeze, Michael Donaghy, Ian Duhig, Michele Roberts
2000: Lavinia Greenlaw, Ian McMillan, Don Paterson, Germaine Greer (chair)
1999: John Agard, Robert Crawford, Ruth Padel, Michael Rosen (chair)
1998: Matthew Sweeney, David Dabydeen, Kathleen Jamie
1997: Roger McGough, Andrew Motion, Carol Ann Duffy, Monizi Alvi
1996: Paul Durcan, Jo Shapcott, Paul Hyland
1995: Paul Muldoon, UA Fanthorpe, Andrew McAllister
1994: Fleur Adcock, Jackie Kay, Lemn Sissay, Susan Roberts (chair)
1993: Sean O’Brien, Helen Dunmore, Anthony Thwaite
1992: Maura Dooley, Simon Rae, Michael Longley
1991: Liz Lochhead, John Whitworth, David Dabydeen, John Heath-Stubbs
1990: Kit Wright, Grace Nichols, Simon Armitage
1989: Carol Ann Duffy, Fleur Adcock, Herbert Lomas
1988: Jonathan Barker, Edwin Morgan, George Szirtes
1987: Douglas Dunn, Edna Longley, Fred D’Aguiar
1986: Wendy Cope, John Fuller, Ken Smith
1985: Carol Rumens, Roy Fisher, Tom Paulin
1984: James Berry, George McBeth, Hugo Williams
1983: Vernon Scannell, Gillian Clarke, Kevin Crossley Holland
1982: Christopher Reid, Paul Muldoon, Frances Horovitz
1981: Roger McGough, Edwin Morgan, Peter Porter
1980: Patricia Beer, Douglas Dunn, George McBeth
1979: Brian Patten, Anne Stevenson, Craig Raine
1978: Ted Hughes, Fleur Adcock, Gavin Ewart