Fokkina McDonnell, Polly Atkin, Suzannah V Evans, Jennifer Lee Tsai & Hannah Hodgson win Northern Writers’ Awards

All five recipients of this year’s Northern Writers’ Awards for Poetry are Poetry Society Members: Fokkina McDonnell, Polly Atkin, Suzannah V Evans, Jennifer Lee Tsai and Hannah Hodgson.

Established in 2000 by New Writing North, the Northern Writers’ Awards supports work-in-progress by new, emerging and established writers across the North of England. The Awards support writers creatively as they develop their work towards publication, as well as helping them to progress professionally and navigate their way through the publishing industry. The Poetry judge this year was Vahni Capildeo.

Fokkina McDonnell is Dutch-born and lives in Manchester. She has two poetry collections: Another life with Oversteps Books Ltd (2016) and Nothing serious, nothing dangerous with Indigo Dreams Publishing Ltd (2019). Her pamphlet, A Stolen Hour, was published by Grey Hen Press in spring 2020.  Fokkina blogs weekly on where she also features other poets.

Polly Atkin lives Cumbria. Her first poetry collection Basic Nest Architecture (Seren: 2017) was followed by a third pamphlet, With Invisible Rain (New Walk Press: 2018), which draws on Dorothy Wordsworth’s late journals to explore ways to express pain. Her first pamphlet bone song (Aussteiger, 2008) was shortlisted for the Michael Marks Pamphlet Award, 2009, and second, Shadow Dispatches (Seren, 2013), won the Mslexia Pamphlet Prize, 2012.

Suzannah V. Evans organised Keats House: New Poets, for York Literature Festival and StAnza Poetry Festival, and at Underfall boatyard in Bristol, where she was poet in residence in 2019. She edited reviews for The Compass between 2017-2020 and is a doctoral researcher at Durham University, supported by the AHRC. Her debut double-pamphlet Marine Objects / Some Language was published with Guillemot Press in April 2020.

Jennifer Lee Tsai is a poet, editor and critic. She was born in Bebington and grew up in Liverpool. Jennifer is a fellow of The Complete Works III and a Ledbury Poetry Critic. Her work has been published in the Bloodaxe anthology Ten: Poets of the New Generation (2017) and her debut poetry pamphlet Kismet was published by ignitionpress in 2019. Jennifer is a Contributing Editor to Ambit. In 2019, she was awarded an AHRC scholarship to undertake doctoral research in Creative Writing at the University of Liverpool.

Hannah Hodgson is a 22-year-old poet living with life-limiting illness. She writes about her hospice use, disability and family life, amongst other things. She is soon to begin a Masters in Creative Writing at Lancaster University where she is going to study poetry and life writing. Her debut pamphlet Dear Body was published by Wayleave Press in 2018. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram @HodgsonWrites and her website is

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15 July 2020