Major international poetry prize for UK-based poet Jane Draycott

At an Awards Ceremony in London at the Royal Society of Medicine, the £5000 2014 Open International Hippocrates first prize has been awarded to UK-based poet Jane Draycott. 

The second prize was won by UK poet Ailsa Holland for her poem Weekend and the third prize was shared by New York City poet Stephanie Gangi for Four and South African poet Karen Nel for Intensive Care

All winning and commended poems were published in the 2014 Hippocrates Awards Anthology.

The Hippocrates Prize is one of the most valuable poetry prizes in the world, with a yearly purse of £15000. 

Jane Draycott’s winning poem The Return concerns the many sanatoria around the world left standing very much as the day they were abandoned decades ago, remaining as if on stand-by for whenever their time comes again.

The International Hippocrates Open Awards were presented by poet Philip Gross at an International Symposium on Poetry and Medicine at the Royal Society of Medicine in London on Saturday May 10th.

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Jane Draycott with Philip Gross ©Hippocrates Prize

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Judges Philip Gross, Robert Francis QC and Sarah Crown ©Hippocrates Prize

Now in its 5th year, winners for the 2014 Hippocrates NHS and Open Prize for Poetry and Medicine were selected by judges poet Philip Gross, barrister Robert Francis QC and Mumsnet Editor Sarah Crown from over 1000 entries from 31 countries. 

The judges also agreed 20 commendations in the NHS category, and 21 in the Open International category, from England, Ireland, Scotland, Norway, the USA, New Zealand and Australia.

Judge Philip Gross said: ‘Reading the stronger poems in the Open and the NHS categories, I see how many of their qualities they share. Dedicated poet or health professional – maybe each needs the same disciplines of observation and exactness, care and a right handling of emotions, the ability to get up close and yet step back and see it whole.’ Judge Sarah Crown commented: ‘We think of healthcare first and foremost as a scientific arena; a realm of dosages, diagnoses, instruments and odds. The real pleasure of these poems for me was the way in which they made the case for the place, within this arena, of the personal and the beautiful, too.

‘Reading them awakened me to the stories behind the science, and I found myself in tears on more than one occasion. Congratulations to everyone who submitted a poem, and particularly to the winners.’  Judge Robert Francis QC remarked "What a celebration of the partnership between patients and those who care for them and their shared will to overcome the frailties which we all have to face!”

Donald Singer, Hippocrates Prize co-founder and President of the London-based charity Fellowship of Postgraduate Medicine, the major patron of the Hippocrates Initiative said "The FPM is delighted that in its 5th year, Hippocrates Open Awards continue to reach out to poets, health professionals and the public around the world.

Hippocrates Prize co-founder poet Michael Hulse added: “The Prize’s first five years have shown how extraordinarily illuminating the complementarity of the disciplines of poetry and medicine can be.” 

The £5000 Hippocrates NHS first prize went to trainee paediatrician Ellen Storm from Liverpool and the £500 international Hippocrates Young Poet Prize went to Conor McKee, first year student at Sidney Sussex College, at the University of Cambridge.

See links for more results from the Hippocrates NHS Awards and Young Poets Award.

Child health doctor Ellen Storm wins £5000 Hippocrates NHS prize

Major international poetry and medicine Young Poet award for Cambridge student

The Hippocrates Initiative – 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 to editors

Photos of all winners, along with biographies and extracts of their poems are available on request. Contact 0759 0478078, 07447 441666 or

Awards: In the Open category there was a 1st prize of £5,000, 2nd prize £1,000, 3rd prize of £500, and 21 commendations each of £50.

 The 2014 Hippocrates Anthology of winning and commended poems was launched at the Awards Ceremony in London on Saturday 10th May.

About the Hippocrates Open Prize winner

Jane Draycott  is a UK-based poet with a particular interest in sound art and collaborative work. Her collections include No Theatre (Smith/Doorstop) and from Carcanet Press, Prince Rupert's DropThe Night Tree and Over, short-listed for the 2009 TS Eliot Prize Nominated three times for the Forward Poetry Prizes, she was a PBS 'Next Generation' poet 2004 and second prize-winner in the National Poetry Competition 2012.  Other collections, from Two Rivers Press, include Christina the Astonishing, co-written with Lesley Saundersand Tideway with images by Peter Hay. Her translation of the medieval dream-elegy Pearl (2011), was a PBS Recommended Translation and winner of a Times Stephen Spender Prize. She lives in Henley on Thames.

The Hippocrates Prize judges
Philip Gross’s
The Water Table won the T.S. Eliot Prize 2009, I Spy Pinhole Eye Wales Book of The Year 2010, and Off Road to Everywhere the CLPE Award for Children’s Poetry 2011. Deep Field (2011) deals with voice and language, explored through his father’s aphasia, and a new collection, Later, was published by Bloodaxe in Autumn 2013. He has published ten novels for young people, including The Lastling, has collaborated with artists, musicians and dancers, and since 2004 has been Professor of Creative Writing at Glamorgan University. 

Robert Francis QC is a distinguished barrister who specialises in the NHS and medical negligence. He has been a Queen's Counsel for 21 of his 40 years at the bar. He has been involved in many inquiries into the NHS, both as barrister and as chair, most recently chairing the inquiry into the Mid Staffordshire Hospital. According to Peter Walsh, chief executive of the patient safety charity Action against Medical Accidents, Robert Francis has a "passion for justice in healthcare and improving healthcare more generally". 

Sarah Crown is editor of She was editor of the from 2007 to 2013. Previous poetry awards for which she has been a member of the judging panels include the Forward Prizes and the Picador Poetry Prize.

Hippocrates Prize Organisers Professor Donald Singer is President of the Fellowship of Postgraduate Medicine. His interests include research on discovery of new therapies, and public understanding of drugs, health and disease. He co-authors Pocket Prescriber, the 7th edition of which is published by Taylor & Francis in May 2014. Professor Michael Hulse is a poet and translator of German literature, and teaches creative writing and comparative literature at the University of Warwick. He is also editor of The Warwick Review. His latest book of poems, Half-Life (2013), was named a Book of the Year by John Kinsella.

2014 Hippocrates Prize is supported by:

The Fellowship of Postgraduate Medicine, a national medical society founded in 1918 and publisher of the Postgraduate Medical Journal and Health Policy and Technology, has supported the Hippocrates Prize since its launch in 2009.
The Healthy Heart Charity the Cardiovascular Research Trust, founded in 1996, which promotes research and education for the prevention and treatment of disorders of the heart and circulation. 

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