Jen Hadfield announced as winner of the Edwin Morgan Poetry Competition

Jen Hadfield announced as winner of the Edwin Morgan Poetry Competition

The winners of the fifth Edwin Morgan Poetry Competition were announced at a ceremony at the Edinburgh International Book Festival last night. The first prize of £5,000 has been awarded to Jen Hadfield for her poem The Kids, which was judged to be the best from a field of over 1,100 poems from around the world that were entered into the competition.

The competition, which is sponsored by the University of Strathclyde, is held in honour of Edwin Morgan, who was Scotland’s Makar (national poet) and who died in 2010, aged 90. It offers one of the UK’s largest poetry prizes with awards worth a total of £6,600. This year’s competition was judged by award-winning Scottish poets Don Paterson and Gillian Ferguson.

Commenting on the winning poem’s atmospheric qualities, Gillian Ferguson said: ‘Really, really creepy – but in a good way… 'The Kids' sounds like a nice soppy poem, but it would be pretty disturbing if these freaky offspring showed up at nursery. Personally, I’ve never noted that cats hunt rabbits by looking for steam escaping a warren, but it’s the kind of hyper-observed, unsettling detail that really makes this super-shivery poem.’

Dr David Kinloch, a Reader in the University of Strathclyde's Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences and co-founder of the competition, chaired the event at the Book Festival. He said: ‘The entries in this year’s competition have again been of exceptional quality, with submissions from an encouraging blend of established and emerging poets.

Other winners in the competition were:

  • second prize (£1,000): Look Hamewards, Now by Mike Vallely
  • third prize (£500): The Perils of Surgery by Malcolm Watson
  • runners-up (£50): Peach by Daisy Behagg; forest glass by Katherine Sowerby


Look Hamewards, Now was written in Scots, which for the first time this year was eligible for entry alongside poems in English.  

All of the shortlisted poems can be read at on the Edwin Morgan Poetry Prize website.

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