Following a successful inaugural year that saw victory claimed by Caleb Klaces for his collection Bottled Air, Eyewear Publishing is accepting submissions for the sophomore edition of its Melita Hume Poetry Prize from this Wednesday (13/02). Named for the eponymous collector of books and compiler of poems, the prize awards £1,000 and a publishing deal with Eyewear to the best first full collection of poetry written in English by a poet born in 1978 or later (i.e. no older than 35).
The prize aims to support emerging writers in an economic climate that isn’t necessarily receptive towards kids who say ‘I want to grow up to be a poet’. Manuscripts should be at least 50 pages long and no more than 100, and should not have been previously published in book form. The only other necessary qualification is that entrants should be resident in the UK or Ireland. Entry is free, and submissions will be accepted for three months following the competition’s opening this week, with the final deadline being 5pm on 13 May.
As was the case last year, the winner will be decided by a single judge, in this case 29 year old poet, editor and publisher Jon Stone. Stone was commended in the 2011 National Poetry Competition and won a Society of Authors Eric Gregory Award in 2012. His 2012 collection School of Forgery was a Poetry Book Society Summer Recommendation.
Stone will decide a winner from a shortlist of between six and ten poets, a shortlist that will be announced in July with the winner revealed in September. The judge says of the prize: ‘The recognition and nurturing of emerging talent is a vital service to our culture, but publishing new poets is always a risky venture, even for the mainstream presses. Both the generosity and wisdom, therefore, of a prize that offers both money and a first book deal cannot be understated.’