The winner of the 2019 National Poetry Competition is Susannah Hart

Susannah Hart. photo: Ged Equi

Judges Mona Arshi, Helen Mort and Maurice Riordan have awarded £5,000 for Susannah Hart’s ‘Reading the Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy’, a poem that “takes on big subjects, cunningly manipulating the impersonal and toneless phrasing  of bureaucracy as the poem’s speaker tries to come to terms with evil.”

The winning poem was selected from 16,659 poems entered into the competition from 6,979 poets in 87 countries, including entries from every EU member state. All of the poems were read anonymously by the judges.

Told in a single long sentence that intensifies the momentum and the sense of building desperation, ‘Reading the Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy’ uses the dispassionate language of bureaucracy and policy to counterbalance the cruelty and descriptions of acts of violence in the poem

The full list of winners for the 2019 National Poetry Competition are as follows:

First prize goes to Susannah Hart for ‘Reading the Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy’.
Second prize to Ann Pelletier-Topping for ‘Granddaughter Moves In’
Third prize to Natalie Linh Bolderston for ‘Middle Name with Diacritics’

The seven commendations are: Joe Dunthorne for ‘Due to a series of ill judgements on my part’; Charlotte Knight for ‘MOONDADDY’; Cheryl Moskowitz for ‘Hotel Grief’; Mark Pajak for ‘Reset’, Louisa Adjoa Parker for ‘Kindness’, Rosie Shepperd for ‘Letter from Kermanshah’, and Gerald Smith for ‘Where Dedushka Comes From’.

Read the winning poems here

Read the full press release here