Catherine Graham wins the inaugural Jo Cox Poetry Prize

Catherine Graham

Poetry Society Member Catherine Graham has been named as the winner of Carers UK’s first ‘Jo Cox Poetry Prize’ for her poem ‘The washing machine’, following a month-long focus on the loneliness experienced by unpaid carers led by Carers UK as part of the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness. Poetry Society Member Jack Houston was one of four Highly Commended poets for his poem ‘The biscuit’.

The award for poems exploring loneliness was launched in honour of the former Batley and Spen MP’s work tackling isolation through conversations across communities.

Carers and former carers were invited to contribute poems for the special award as part of Carers UK’s creative writing and photography competition, with both well-established and newer writers sharing their personal reflections on isolation and caring. The poems were picked by award-winning poet Cheryl Moskowitz, with the remaining winners of the competition set to be announced on the 24 October.

Catherine and Jack’s poems and highly commended entries will be included in Carers UK’s creative writing anthology, set to be released on 24 November and sponsored by Specsavers Healthcall. The book will include winning entries from the competition, available to preorder here. All proceeds will help to fund the charity’s work supporting those caring for ill, older, or disabled loved ones.

The Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness, launched in January 2017 following Jo Cox’s death, sees MPs and leading organisations come together to shine a light on loneliness and share the positive steps we can all take to combat it.

Research released by Carers UK’s during the Commission’s spotlight on carers found that 8 in 10 (81%) carers felt “lonely or isolated” and a third (29%) felt “uncomfortable” discussing their responsibilities with friends or family.

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25 September 2017