When health and poetry come together: the 10th annual Hippocrates International Prize for Poetry and Medicine

C for Life Newcastle

Entries are now open for the 2019 Hippocrates Prize for Poetry and Medicine.

Since its launch in 2009, the Hippocrates Prize has attracted around 10,000 entries from over 70 countries, from the Americas to Fiji and Finland to Australasia. Entries for the 10th annual Hippocrates Prize close at 11pm GMT on 15th February (1st March for the Hippocrates Young Poet Prize).

Awards in the Hippocrates Prize are for an unpublished poem in English of up to 50 lines on a medical theme by entrants from anywhere in the world. Previous winners have come from Canada, Hong Kong, New Zealand, the UK and the USA.

With a prize fund of £5500 for winning poems in the Open International category and NHS category, and £500 for the Young Poets Award, the Hippocrates Prize is one of the highest value poetry awards in the world for a single poem.

Enter online for the Hippocrates awards

Judges for the 2019 Hippocrates international Open Prize and Health Professional Prize (deadline 14th February) are UK journalist and broadcaster Kate Adie CBE, DL; American-Mexican poet and novelist Jennifer Clement, International President of PEN International; and physician Professor Dame Jane Dacre, who is immediate past-president of the UK Royal College of Physicians in London and a Professor of Medical Education. Jennifer Clement said: “When science and poetry come together this often creates great literature.”

New Zealand poet and novelist Elizabeth Smither will judge the Hippocrates international Young Poet Prize for Poetry and Medicine. Elizabeth Smither said: “Young poets have something that old poets don’t. Freshness, wonder, passion before the difficulty of being a poet is fully understood. No fear at looking at the blank page or blank screen. The whole world of words at their feet.” 

Co-organiser Donald Singer said: “We are delighted to have such a distinguished panel of judges for the 2019 Hippocrates Prize. We are also grateful that the 2019 Hippocrates Awards Ceremony will be hosted by the Centre for Life in Newcastle in partnership with the Newcastle Centre for the Literary Arts.”

Centre Director Professor Sinéad Morrissey added: “The Newcastle Centre for the Literary Arts is delighted to co-host this important international poetry prize – one which is growing in status and reputation each year, making vital contributions to both fields of knowledge.”

Co-organiser Michael Hulse said: “Our tenth anniversary year promises to be one of real distinction, and we look forward eagerly to reading the poems that take this year’s prizes and commendations.”

Awards in the Hippocrates Prize are for an unpublished poem in English of up to 50 lines on a medical theme by entrants from anywhere in the world. Previous winners have come from Canada, Hong Kong, New Zealand, the UK and the USA.

The International Hippocrates Prize is awarded in three categories:

- a £1000 first prize, £500 second prize and £250 third prize in the Hippocrates Open category, which anyone in the world may enter. There are a further ~20 commendations in the Open category

- a £1000 first prize, £500 second prize and £250 third prize in the Health Professional category, which is open to Health Service employees, health students and those working in professional organisations anywhere in the world involved in education and training of health professional students and staff. There are a further ~20 commendations in the Health Professional category

- a £500 award for the Hippocrates Young Poets Prize for an unpublished poem in English on a medical theme. Entries are open to young poets from anywhere in the world aged 14 to 18 years. There are further commendations in the Young Poets category. There is no entry fee for the Young Poets prize.

US poet and 2018 Hippocrates Prize Judge Mark Doty said: “The humane and moving work shortlisted for the Hippocrates Poetry Prizes testify to the power of poetry to help us to negotiate the difficult in carefully crafted, artful language”.

Australian doctor, poet and 2018 Hippocrates Prize Judge Peter Goldsworthy added: “There are many species of poem (in the 2018 Hippocrates Prize entries) - dark, poignant, epigrammatic, celebratory, funny. I applaud the poets for their creativity and compassion.”

Shortlisted and commended poets will be informed by email and information about the shortlist and the commended entries posted on the Hippocrates Prize website. The winners in the 2019 Hippocrates Health Professional Prize will be announced by the judges at the Hippocrates Awards ceremony on Friday 17th May 2019 in at the Centre for Life in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

The Hippocrates Initiative for Poetry and Medicine – winner of the 2011 Times Higher Education Award for Innovation and Excellence in the Arts – is an interdisciplinary venture that investigates the synergy between medicine, the arts and health.

Notes for editors
For more on the Hippocrates Prize contact +44 7494 450805  or email hippocrates.poetry@gmail.com 

2019 Hippocrates Judges

The 2019 Hippocrates Awards judging panel includes BBC journalist Kate Adie from the UK, US-Mexican poet and novelist Jennifer Clement, and past-president of the UK Royal College of Physicians Professor Dame Jane Dacre, for the International Open and International Health Professional categories; and, for the Hippocrates Young Poets Prize, poet and novelist Elizabeth Smither from New Zealand.

Kate Adie became a familiar figure through her work as BBC Chief News Correspondent. She is the long-serving presenter of Radio 4’s From Our Own Correspondent and a presenter or contributor to many other radio and television programmes. She has served as a judge for the Orange Prize for Fiction, now the Bailey’s, and the Whitbread, now the Costa Prize, and recently, the RSL Ondaatje Prize. Kate was honoured with a Bafta Fellowship in 2018 and received a CBE in the 2018 Queen's Birthday Honours list. Other awards include: Royal Television Society Reporter of the Year 1980, for her coverage of the SAS end to the Iranian Embassy siege; Winner, 1981 & 1990, Monte Carlo International Golden Nymph Award; The Richard Dimbleby BAFTA Award 1990.

Jennifer Clement is the President of PEN International and the first woman to be elected as its President in 100 years. Under her leadership the PEN International Women’s Manifesto was created. Clement has published four books of poetry including The Next Stranger (with an introduction by W.S. Merwin). She is the author of A True Story Based on Lies, The Poison That Fascinates, Prayers for the Stolen and Gun Love.  She also wrote the acclaimed memoir Widow Basquiat on New York City in the 1980’s and the painter Jean-Michel Basquiat. Her books have been translated into 30 languages. She is the recipient of the Canongate Prize, Sara Curry Humanitarian Award, the Gran Prix des Lectrices Lyceenes de ELLE, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and an NEA Fellowship, and her books have twice been a New York Times Editor’s Choice Book.  Prayers for the Stolen was both a PEN/Faulkner Prize and Femina Prize finalist. Her recent novel Gun Love is an Oprah Book Club Selection as well as being a National Book Award finalist. She lives in Mexico City. 

Elizabeth Smither has published 18 collections of poetry. She was New Zealand’s Poet Laureate from 2001 to 2003, and was awarded an Hon DLitt by Auckland University and the Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Achievement in 2008. She also writes novels, journals and short stories, and is widely published in Australia, Britain and USA. She was awarded the Sarah Broom Poetry Prize in 2016 and her most recent poetry collection, Night Horse, won the Ockham NZ Book Award for poetry in 2018.

Professor Dame Jane Dacre DBE, MD, FRCP is a UK consultant rheumatologist and Professor of Medical Education. She is the immediate past president of the London Royal College of Physicians and was vice chair of the Association of Medical Research Charities, Director of University College of London Medical School, MD of MRCPUK and academic VP of the RCP. She is the lead for the DHSC independent review into the gender pay gap in medicine, and the President of the Medical Protection Society. She won the medicine and healthcare category 2012 of Women in the City Woman of Achievement Award; was named on the HSJ inaugural list of 50 inspirational women in healthcare in 2013; was named in the science and medicine category for people of influence Debrett’s 500 in 2015, 2016 and 2017; and was named on the HSJ top 100 list from 2014 to 2017.

Organisers of the Hippocrates Initiative for Poetry and Medicine
Professor Donald Singer is a clinical pharmacologist and President of the Fellowship of Postgraduate Medicine. His interests include research on discovery of new therapies, and public understanding of drugs, health and disease. Professor Michael Hulse is a poet and translator of German literature, and teaches creative writing and comparative literature at the University of Warwick. His latest book of poems, Half-Life (2013), was named a Book of the Year by John Kinsella.

 © Hippocrates initiative 2012: hippocrates.poetry@gmail.com