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Peggy Poole Award / National Poetry Competition launch readings

Tuesday 16 June 2020, 7:00 pm8:30 pm


Left to right: Rosie Shepperd, Louisa Adjoa Parker (photo: Robert Golden), Michael Symmons Roberts (photo: Andrew Crowley), Mark Pajak (photo: Robert Peet)

The Poetry Society presents a special event celebrating the Peggy Poole Award featuring readings from the 2018 Peggy Poole Award winner Mark Pajak, alongside his mentor through the Award, acclaimed poet, novelist and librettist Michael Symmons Roberts. The Peggy Poole Award is a talent development award recognising emerging writers in the North West of England. 

The event will also mark the recent launch of the 2020 National Poetry Competition with readings from two of the top 10 Commended poets from the 2019 National Poetry Competition: Louisa Adjoa Parker and Rosie Shepperd. The 2019 National Poetry Competition received over 16,500 entries.

The event will include the screening of a new film ‘Dismantling the biggest oil tanker in the world’, created by animator Dominic Davis. The film is based on a poem of the same name by Mark Pajak, which was commissioned to celebrate the National Poetry Competition’s fortieth anniversary.

This event will take place on digital platform Zoom and is free to join,  however places on Zoom are limited and advance booking is essential to reserve your place. For security reasons, you should only book your own place on the event – please include your full name in your booking along with your email address, which will need to match the name you register as on Zoom. We’ll send out instructions on how to join the call nearer the event time.  Booking will close at 3pm on the day of the event.


Mark Pajak has written for The BBC, The Guardian, The London Review of Books, Poetry London, The North, The Rialto and Magma. He has received a Northern Writers’ Award, an Eric Gregory Award, an UNESCO international writing residency and has been awarded first place in The Bridport Prize. His pamphlet, Spitting Distance, was selected by Carol Ann Duffy as a Laureate’s Choice and is published with smith|doorstop. He was commended in The Poetry Society’s National Poetry Competition in 2014.

Michael Symmons Roberts is Professor of Poetry at Manchester Metropolitan University.  His sixth collection Drysalter – was the winner of the 2013 Forward Prize and the Costa Poetry Prize, and was shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize.  His poetry has won the Forward Prize, the Costa Poetry Prize and the Whitbread Poetry Award, and been shortlisted for the Griffin International Poetry Prize. He has received major awards from the Arts Council and the Society of Authors. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and of the English Association.

Louisa Adjoa Parker is a poet and writer of English-Ghanaian heritage. Her latest poetry collection, How to wear a skin (2019) was published by Indigo Dreams, and her first collection and pamphlet were published by Cinnamon Press. Her work has appeared in many journals and anthologies. She has appeared in many journals and anthologies. She has twice been shortlisted in the Bridport Prize, and highly commended in the Forward Prize. Louisa’s short story collection, Stay here with me, will be published by Colenso Books in 2020. She is currently writing a coastal memoir, to be published by Little Toller Books in 2020/21.

Rosie Shepperd’s That so-easy thing (2012) was a Poetry Business prizewinner. Her collection is The Man at the Corner Table (Seren, 2015) and she is writing her doctorate (Goldsmiths) to identify a way to understand a poem/ reading as a paradigm of the creative process of the poet/ reader. She was a finalist for the Cardiff, Forward, Ledbury, Liverpool, Manchester and Moth prizes and is a chef at the charity FoodCycle that cooks 2,000 meals a week for guests facing various challenges.

The Peggy Poole Award helps emerging writers develop their craft, and gives poets in the North West of England the chance to win a year of mentoring from a leading poet, running alongside the National Poetry Competition, The award is in memory of the poet and broadcaster Peggy Poole and made possible thanks to the generosity of her extended family and many friends.  Read more about the Peggy Poole award.