Freshness, wonder, passion: poet from Ireland wins the 2019 Hippocrates Young Poets’ Prize for Poetry and Medicine

Judge Elizabeth Smither from New Zealand announced Rebecca Byrne from County Carlow, Ireland as winner of the the winner of the 2019 Hippocrates Prize for Poetry and Medicine for her poem for The Butcher's Doll.

Poets from the USA and Nigeria were the other finalists Young Poets’ Prize in this year’s international Hippocrates Prize for Poetry and Medicine.  The Young Poets’ award is supported by healthy heart charity the Cardiovascular Research Trust, which has a particularly interest in promoting heart health among the young throughout the world.

The shortlisted poets were Adetona Temilade Adedeji from Lagos, Nigeria, for E.R; Emily Liu from Naperville, Illinois, USA for Sublimation of Memory; Miles Johnston McInerney from La Jolla, California, USA for Seeking Cracked Boys for Clinical Trial; and Maia Siegel from Roanoke, Virginia, USA for I Woke Up Blind One Day.

2019 Hippo Young Poet 5

Left - right: above Maia Siegel and  Miles Johnston McInerney; below Rebecca Byrne, Adetona Temilade Adedeji and Emily Liu.

More on the shortlisted young poets and what inspired their poems

There were entries for the 2019 Hippocrates Young Poets Prize from 15 countries and territories: Argentina, Australia, China, England, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Ireland, New Zealand, Nigeria, Scotland, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan and the USA.  

Winners of the Hippocrates Young Poet Prize and the FPM-Hippocrates Awards were announced on 17th May at the 2019 Hippocrates Awards Ceremony at the Centre for Life in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in England.

Heart charity patron Leslie Morgan OBE DL said: “The CVRT is delighted to have such international interest in the Hippocrates Young Poets Prize. The CVRT is also grateful that the 2019 Hippocrates Awards Ceremony will be held at the Centre for Life in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in the UK at the 10th annual international Hippocrates conference on poetry and medicine, which is being jointly organised by the Hippocrates Initiative for Poetry and Medicine and the Newcastle Centre for the Literary Arts.

New Zealand poet and novelist Elizabeth Smither, judge of the Hippocrates Young Poet’s Prize 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.”

She added: "After reading the entries from 15 countries in this year’s Hippocrates Young Poets Prize I feel sure that the future of medicine and the interaction between medical professionals and patients is in good heart.

“Jane Austen did not think suffering improved temperament and many poems emphasised the diminishment that pain brings. I’d like to congratulate all the poets who entered and urge you all to keep on writing and observing. Remember: doctors make good poets and poets make good doctors."

The Hippocrates Young Poets’ Prize is a £500 award 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 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 interface between medicine, the arts and health.

Notes for editors
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Support for the 2019 Hippocrates Young Poets’ Prize

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. Recent activities include a Love your Heart poetry collection by primary and secondary school children based on school lessons bringing together heart education through poetry. The charity also supported the Hippocrates Book of the Heart, launched in Sydney, Toronto and London, bringing together poems on the heart by famous poets from around the world with advice on how to prevent and treat heart disease by medical experts on the heart.

Hippocrates Young Poets’ judge 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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