Women Poets’ Prize 2022 – our longlisted poets, in their own words…

Kirsten Luckins News

Graphic of the Women Poet's Prize logo encricled by a purple brushstroke and the word 'longlisted' added to it

We’re delighted to announce the thirty poets who make up our 2022 longlist, all of whom will now receive a year’s free subscription to the Being A Writer resource platform thanks to our partners The Literary Consultancy. It was extremely difficult to whittle down a record-breaking 910 entries, as the standard of writing was high throughout, but we are excited to see the range of poetics and practices, emerging and established, represented here.

Aniqah Choudhri is a British Muslim writer, poet and journalist living in Manchester. She uses her work to explore the themes of mental illness, queer issues and racial identity. She recently won the Moth Poetry Prize for 2021. Her work has appeared in the Hippocrates Anthology, the Bristol Short Story Anthology and Tribune Magazine.

Alice Horncastle is a writer from Berkshire. She completed an MA Creative Writing from the University of Exeter in 2019 and is currently working on a queer historical novel and a poetry pamphlet. Her poem ‘Suburbia’ was longlisted for the Brian Dempsey Memorial Prize 2022.

Carol Rowntree Jones writes poetry, essays and creative non-fiction. Based in south Nottinghamshire, her poetry explores the natural world and what it is to be human. Winner of the inaugural Overton Poetry Prize for her sequence ‘This Is Not Normal Behaviour’, she has been published in the North, 111O, Artemis, Left Lion, and in anthologies Treeline and A Speaking Silence. She’s a sort of forester.

Catherine Okoronkwo holds a PhD in Creative Writing. Her work has been anthologised in various publications: Elevator Fiction (2016); Crossings Over (2017); Black Lives Matter: Poems for a New World (2020); Where We Find Ourselves (2021); Poetry and Settled Status for All (2022). Her debut collection of poetry, Blood and Water ọbara na mmiri, is published by Waterloo Press (2020).

Zakia Carpenter-Hall is an American writer, tutor and critic living in the UK. Both her poetry and reviews have been published in Poetry Wales, Poetry Review, Wild Court and Magma. She’s taught creative writing at Kingston University, Royal Holloway and the Poetry School. Human Ecologies (2021) is her ecopoetry film.

Nicky Hallett is inspired by lost voices and driven to celebrate lives that may be silenced, overlooked or go unheard. Born in rural Warwickshire, she later moved to Canterbury (twice) and York, and now lives on the edge of the Peak District.

Melanie Fordham recently graduated with distinction from Bath Spa University with an MA in Writing for Young People. Her YA verse novel, Hope, was long-listed for the Exeter Novel Prize and Bath Children’s Novel Award in 2021. She is currently writing poetry focussing on women’s issues, a haiku collection and a dystopian thriller.  

Scarlett Ward-Bennett is a Staffordshire Poet living with Multiple Sclerosis. Her debut collection ‘Ache’ was released with Verve Poetry Press in 2019 and in that same year she was runner-up in the Wolverhampton Literature Festival. She is founder of Fawn Press and is a self-proclaimed weird horse woman.

Madeleine Wurzburger lives in Richmond. She was a winner in the 2018 Poetry Business Book & Pamphlet Competition with ‘Sleeve Catching Fire at Dawn’ and had a further pamphlet published by Agnes Kirk Press in 2019. Her work has appeared in The Rialto and Prototype among other publications.

Elizabeth Gibson is a Manchester-based poet and performer. She was a winner at the 2017 Northern Writers’ Awards, and her work has appeared in Atrium, Confingo, Lighthouse, Magma, Popshot, Queerlings, and Under the Radar. She received a DYCP grant from Arts Council England in 2021, to explore queerness through poetry.

Alyson Kissner is a Canadian-born poet completing her doctorate at the University of Edinburgh. She has published in Gutter Magazine, The Rumpus, and was co-winner of the 2022 Edwin Morgan Poetry Award. Alyson also works within the charity sector, developing intersectional courses on surviving domestic and sexual violence.

Sonia Jarema was born in Luton to Ukrainian parents. She works as a part-time LSA and as a self-employed gardener. Her poetry has appeared in various magazines and in 2019 her pamphlet Inside the Blue House was published by Palewell Press. Her novel was longlisted for Penguin WriteNow 2016/2017 program.

Laura Theis‘ exophonic writing appears in Poetry, Mslexia, Rattle, Strange Horizons, Asimov’s, Aesthetica, etc. Her Elgin-Award-nominated debut ‘how to extricate yourself’, an Oxford Poetry Library Book-of-the-Month, won the Brian Dempsey Memorial Prize. She received the AM Heath Prize, Oxford Brookes Poetry Prize, Mogford Prize, Hammond House International Literary Award, and a Forward Prize nomination.

Estelle Price is the winner of the 2021 Welsh Poetry Competition. In 2022 she was published by Nine Arches Press in Primers 6. Her poetry has been placed/ listed/published in the National, Bridport, Poetry Wales, 14 Lines etc. Before she was a poet she was a lawyer, classicist, charity worker.

Sarah Gibbons lives in London and combines writing poetry with parenthood and a fulltime job. She is currently studying for an MA in writing poetry, jointly run by the Poetry School and Newcastle University. Her work has been published in Mslexia, Ambit Magazine, the Wolf Magazine and South Bank Poetry.  

Elena Croitoru is a British-Romanian writer. Her first poetry pamphlet, ‘The Country With No Playgrounds’, won the Live Canon Pamphlet Prize. Her first novel was shortlisted for the Wilbur Smith Prize – Best Unpublished Novel. Her second poetry pamphlet was shortlisted for the Michael Marks Greek Bicentennial Poetry Pamphlet Prizes. 

Anne Gill has been published in journals and anthologies including Ambit, Harana Poetry, The Dizziness of Freedom, and Closed Gates or Open Arms? They were shortlisted for the Outspoken Prize for Performance Poetry 2018. Their pamphlet, Raft, was published in 2019 with Bad Betty Press.

Originally from French-speaking Québec, Ann Pelletier-Topping now lives in Totnes. Her poems have been placed in competitions (2nd Prize in the National Poetry Competition, longlisted in Fish Poetry Prize) and her work has appeared in Ambit and is forthcoming in Obsessed with Pipework. She’s currently working on her first pamphlet.

Maria Isakova-Bennett from Liverpool creates the hand-stitched poetry journal, Coast to Coast to Coast, teaches for charities including Life-Rooms (Mersey Care) and The Windows Project, received a Peggy Poole Award, 2020, and is working on her first collection. Maria’s latest pamphlet is Painting the Mersey in 17 Canvases (Hazel Press, 2022).

Ros Woolner lives in Wolverhampton. Her poems have appeared in anthologies and journals, including Magma, The Cannon’s Mouth, The Interpreter’s House and Under the Radar, and she won the Guernsey International Poetry Competition in 2021. Her pamphlet On the Wing is available from Offa’s Press.

Dillon Jaxx is a queer, working class writer living in Sussex. Disabled through chronic illness, they write about loss, sickness, identity and life that happens while nobody’s watching. Longlisted for Live Canon International poetry prize and Spelt Poetry competition, shortlisted for the Creative Futures Writing Award 2022.Published in Poetry Wales.

Olivia Tuck‘s work has been published by the Poetry Society and Broken Sleep, and in several print and online journals. She interns at Tears in the Fence and Lighthouse, and recently completed UEA’s MA Creative Writing – Poetry course. Her pamphlet Things Only Borderlines Know is published by Black Rabbit Press.

Jasmine Gray is a Northern writer and Writing Squad graduate with poems in Anthropocene, The London Magazine, Carmen et Error and criticism with The Double Negative. Her debut poetry pamphlet, Let’s Photograph Girls Enjoying Life, was published with Broken Sleep Books (2019)

Becky Cherriman is a Leeds-based writer, performer, educator and artist-collaborator who writes with chronic health issues. Her poems have been commissioned, named in the Women’s Poetry Competition and Forward, published in her pamphlet, ‘Echolocation’, and collection, ‘Empires of Clay’, by Seren, Mslexia, The North, and Bloodaxe, and on umbrellas

Prerana Kumar is a writer based in London. She holds an MA in Creative Writing from UEA and was shortlisted for The White Review Poet’s Prize 2022. She has been published in Magma, The White Review, Fruit, and bath magg among others

Amelia Loulli is a poet and AHRC funded PhD student at Newcastle University. Recipient of the Renwick Travel scholarship & residency at The British School at Rome and a Northern Writers’ Debut Poetry Award, a pamphlet of Amelia’s work is published by Nine Arches Press in Primers Volume Four.

Jennifer Lee Tsai is a Liverpool-based poet. She is a fellow of The Complete Works and a Ledbury Poetry Critic. Her debut poetry pamphlet is Kismet (ignitionpress, 2019) and her second poetry pamphlet La Mystérique (2022) is forthcoming with Guillemot Press. She received a 2020 Northern Writers Award for Poetry. 

Maria Leonard has appeared in Modern Queer Poets edited by Richard Porter, the Verve Poetry Press edited by Andrew McMillan, and The Rialto. She has also written and devised performances for ACUD Theater Berlin, Berlin University of the Arts, UCL Museums, the Young Company at Almeida Theatre, Soho Theatre Upstairs and Omnibus Theatre

Ruth Awolola is a poet, theatre-maker and workshop facilitator based in Manchester. She writes for a variety of different audiences including poetry for children and has performed her work across the country.

Jeda Pearl is a Scottish Jamaican writer, poet, and Co-Director of Scottish BPOC Writers Network. She’s performed at StAnza, Push the Boat Out and Edinburgh International Book Festival. Jeda was awarded Cove Park’s Emerging Writer Residency in 2019 and has works published/commissioned by Black Lives Matter Mural Trail, New Writing Scotland, Not Going Back to Normal – Disabled Artists Manifesto, Shoreline of Infinity, Peepal Tree Press, Scottish Storytelling Centre and galleries Rhubaba and Collective