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Previous Winners of Winchester Poetry Prize

celebrating the best in new writing

Click on the highlighted links below to read the winning poems

The Winchester Poetry Prize 2023 winner was Isabelle Baafi with the poem 'Path Of Least Resilience'. The competition was judged by Zaffar Kunial. The prizegiving event was fully hybrid with longlisted poets appearing via Zoom and in-person, and audiences able to watch live at The ARC, or from their homes.


Isabelle Baafi is the reviews editor at Poetry London. Her debut pamphlet Ripe (ignitionpress 2020) won a Somerset Maugham Award and was PBS Pamphlet Choice. She is currently writing her debut collection.

Isabelle Baafi - Winchester Poetry Prize 2023 winner.JPG

In 2022 the Winchester Poetry Prize was judged by Jo Bell. The prizegiving event was hybrid with longlisted poets appearing via Zoom and in-person. 

The winner was Luke Palmer with his poem Desire | Fathers


Winchester Poetry Prize 2021 was judged by Jacqueline Saphra who chose 'The Starlings' by Lesley Saunders as the winning poem. Longlisted poets attended the prize-giving ceremony both online and in-person.

Lesley Saunders has published several books of poems, including Days Of Wonder (Hippocrates Press 2021) whose 52 poems tracked the progress of the Covid-19 pandemic from March 2020 - March 2021.


In 2020 the Prize was judged by Andrew McMillan. The prizegiving event went online and can be seen here.  Lewis Buxton's poem 'un-seaming the tendon' won first prize.

Lewis Buxton is a poet, performer & arts producer. He was selected as one of the Poetry School & Nine Arches Press Primers Volume 4 poets and been published in The Rialto, Magma, Ambit & Oxford Poetry. He is a Norwich Arts Centre artist-in-residence and currently lives in Norfolk. 

Lewis generously supported a number of poets on low incomes to enter the 2021 Winchester Poetry Prize. 

Lewis Buxton 2020.jpg

In its fourth year the Prize was judged by Helen Mort who selected 'Mother's milk' by Salisbury poet Peter Iveson as the winning poem.

Peter Iveson started writing when he moved to Salisbury from London. Sometimes it takes a major life event to trigger poetry, perhaps poetry was waiting for the right space and time, but since then he can’t stop, and is happy when occasionally others seem to like what he’s doing.

Peter Iveson 2019.jpg

The 2018 Winchester Poetry Prize was judged by Liz Berry. The winning poem was with 'Plight' by Inua Ellams.

Born in Nigeria, Inua Ellams is an award winning poet, playwright & founder of the Midnight Run. Identity, Displacement & Destiny are reoccurring themes in his work in which he mixes the old with the new, traditional with the contemporary. His books are published by Flipped Eye, Akashic, Nine Arches & Oberon.

Liz Berry commented 'This poem knocked me off my feet. It blazes a tense, fiery narrative of
flight  and  fear.'

Inua Ellams 2017.jpg

In 2017 the prize was won by Caleb Parkin for his poem 'Somewhere to Keep the Rain'.

Caleb wasn't able to be at the prizegiving ceremony but he sent us a video of himself reading the poem which can be seen here.

Caleb Parkin is a poet, performer, facilitator & filmmaker, based in Bristol. He works with schools, museums, science centres, universities, and more. In 2016, he won second prize in the National Poetry Competition, was shortlisted in The Rialto Open Pamphlet Competition, and was commended in the Ware Open Poetry Competition.

Caleb Parkin.jpg

The inaugural prize judged by Mimi Khalvati in 2016 was won by Eve Ellis for her poem 'Haint'.


Mimi Khalvati commented on 'Haint' saying: 'I loved it for its music, its poignancy, its haunting open ending. A poem like a snowflake.'


Eve Ellis is a native of the United States but now lives in London. 'Haint' was her first published poem. Eve was long-listed for Primers and the National Poetry Competition in 2017. Her poems have also appeared in Magma and Bare Fiction.

Eve Ellis
Paris Smith_Legal Excellence 2019.jpg

Winchester Poetry Prize is generously sponsored by:



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