Deep insight into the human condition: shortlists for the 2019 Hippocrates Prize for Poetry and Medicine

With an awards fund of £5500 the Hippocrates Prize for Poetry and Medicine is one of the highest value poetry awards in the world for a single unpublished poem. The 2019 Hippocrates Prize is supported by medical charity the Fellowship of Postgraduate Medicine and the healthy heart charity the Cardiovascular Research Trust.

Judges UK journalist and broadcaster Kate Adie CBE, DL, American-Mexican poet and author Jennifer Clement, International President of PEN International and Professor Dame Jane Dacre, Past-President of the Royal College of Physicians, London, have agreed a shortlist of 4 poets for the top places in the 2019 FPM-Hippocrates international Open Prize and a shortlist of 4 poets for the top places in the 2019 FPM-Hippocrates Health Professional Prize.

2019 Open

Open shortlist. L to R - above:  Mara Adamitz Scrupe and Claudia Daventry;
below: Simon Rae and Michael Swan.

Competing for the Open Prize are Mara Adamitz Scrupe from Philadelphia in the USA for Excision, Claudia Daventry from Kincaple near St Andrews in Scotland for my Valentine in an fMRI scanner, Simon Rae from Llandrindod Wells in Wales for The Wheelhouse and Michael Swan from Didcot near Oxon in England for Advice to a medical student.

HP 2019

Health Professional shortlist. L to R - above:  Sharon Ackerman and Denise Bundred;
below: Melinda Kallasmae and Siddharth Warrier

In the running for the Health Professional Prize are pain clinic nurse Sharon Ackerman from Charlottesville, Virginia, USA for Dementia Praecox, retired paediatric cardiologist Denise Bundred from Camberley in England for Addressing a Fetal Heart, anaesthetic nurse Melinda Kallasmae from Strathdale, Victoria, Australia for Advance care directive and trainee neurologist Siddharth Warrier from Thane, Maharashtra, India for Limbic love.  

Commendations were also agreed for entrants from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, England, Northern Ireland, Norway, Sweden and the USA - 19 in the Open category and 20 in the Health Professional Category.

The judges also agreed 22 commendations from Australia, England, India, Sweden, Wales and the USA for the 2019 FPM-Hippocrates Health Professional Prize and 18 commendations from Australia, England, Ireland, New Zealand, Scotland, Wales and the USA for the 2019 FPM-Hippocrates international Open Prize

Judge Kate Adie said: “The poems which caught my eye - and my heart - were both arresting and illuminating. I was fascinated by the breadth of subject, and felt I was listening to those who have a deep insight into the human condition - not in a contemplative, detached way, but deeply involved and at times feeling a huge responsibility about the heath and state of mind of others.There was humour, grief, sadness, reflection, and I found it a joy to read through all of them.”

Judge Jennifer Clement added: "It's important to bring the humanities and sciences together and the Hippocrates Prize does this in a valuable and original way. The shortlisted poems speak to both medical issues and literature in unique ways.

Judge Professor Dame Jane Dacre said: “ As a doctor, being a judge for the Hippocrates poetry competition has been a fascinating exercise. The words used, and the emotions expressed have helped my understanding of some of the more complex and difficult clinical areas. This heightened understanding came from the poems written for both health professional and open categories. Medicine is emotional and complex and poetry helps us all to come to terms with it.” 

Judge Elizabeth Smither from New Zealand has agreed a shortlist of 5 poets for the 2019 Hippocrates Young Poet Prize for Poetry and Medicine.

See here for lists of all shortlisted and commended poems in the 2019 Hippocrates Prize for Poetry and Medicine.

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.”

The International Hippocrates Prize is awarded in three categories:

- a £1000 first prize, £500 second prize and £250 third prize in the FPM-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 FPM-Hippocrates 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.

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 
Wendy Necar
01789 841425/07973 523168


Sharon Underhill: 
07734 54 99 55 /  T: 01789 842 624 

Support for the 2019 Hippocrates Prize

The 2019 FPM-Hippocrates Open Awards and FPM-Hippocrates Health Professional Awards are supported by the Fellowship of Postgraduate Medicine. The FPM, founded in 1918,  is a UK medical society which publishes the international journals the Postgraduate Medical Journal and Health Policy and Technology. 

The 2019 Hippocrates Young Poets Prize is supported by the Cardiovascular Research Trust, a healthy heart charity founded in 1996, which promotes research and education for the prevention and treatment of disorders of the heart and circulation. The charity has a particular interest in avoiding preventable heart disease through educating school students.

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. 

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.

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.

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