Shortlist for 2020 John Pollard Foundation International Poetry Prize announced

Posted on: 07 February 2020

The shortlist for the John Pollard Foundation International Poetry Prize 2020 has been announced today.

This is the second year of the prize, awarded annually for an outstanding debut poetry book collection in the English language. Valued at €10,000, the prize is sponsored by the John Pollard Foundation, and administered by the Trinity Oscar Wilde Centre in the School of English at Trinity College Dublin.

The shortlisted books are:

  • Jay Bernard, Surge (Chatto and Windus)
  • Mary Jean Chan, Flèche (Faber)
  • Isabel Galleymore, Significant Other (Carcanet)
  • Michelle Penaloza, Former Possessions of the Spanish Empire (Inlandia Books)
  • Stephen Sexton, If all the World and Love were Young (Penguin)


This international award places no restriction on place of publication and is distinguished by its global reach. The winner will be announced at an award ceremony hosted by Trinity in April.

Announcing the 2020 shortlist, chair of the judging panel Eve Patten, Professor in English at Trinity said:

“Forty volumes of poetry, from publishers in Canada, Ireland, Australia, the UK, and the US, were considered and this year’s judging panel was delighted at the diversity of submissions, with some volumes showcasing technical and conceptual daring and others reinvigorating ideas of lyric utterance.”

“The shortlist demonstrates how much contemporary poetry in English is part of the new nomadic age, crossing cultures and formal strategies, and mixing public voice with intimate conversation. It also reflects the vitality of the current poetry publishing scene, showcasing work by a range of publishers from small independent presses to long-established commercial houses.”

“The Trinity Oscar Wilde Centre has a rich tradition in creative writing and the nurturing of new talent, and we are delighted to continue our association with the John Pollard Foundation and this prestigious international prize.”

Other members of the 2020 judging panel are Dr Nerys Williams, Associate Professor in Poetry and Poetics (School of English Drama and Film, University College, Dublin), Tim Dooley, tutor for the Poetry School and Visiting Lecturer at the University of Westminster, and Harry Clifton, former Ireland Professor of Poetry and Adjunct Professor of Literary Practice in the School of English, Trinity.

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