We are pleased to announce the winner, shortlisted and commended writers for the 2007 poetry category. Please click on the links to read extracts of their work.


Jemma Borg


Jemma Borg read zoology at Oxford and has a doctorate in genetics. She has worked as a teacher overseas, an environmental campaigner and a science editor but has taken out more time for her writing in the past couple of years. Her poems have been published in magazines including Agenda broadsheets for young poets, Asia Literary Review, Magma, Mslexia, Oxford Magazine, Poetry London and Scintilla and her work is included in the anthologies This little stretch of life (Hearing Eye/Poetry School, 2006) and I am twenty people! (Enitharmon, 2007) as well as the forthcoming Oxford Poets Anthology (Carcanet, 2007). She is currently working on several long sequences which will form the heart of her first collection and on a series of essays on experimental strategies and the lyric.


Mir Mahfuz Ali


Mir Mahfuz Ali was born in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Mahfuz is a performance artist, renowned for his extraordinary voice – a rich throaty whisper brought about by a bullet in the throat fired by Bangladeshi policeman trying to silence the singing of anthems during a public anti-war demonstration.

He studied at City Literary Institute in London and Essex University. He dances, acts and has worked as a male model and a tandoori chef. He has given readings and performances at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; Bedlam Theatre at the Edinburgh festival; New End Theatre in Hampstead; Tricycle, Arcola in London and at the National Theatre (Cankarjev Dom) of Slovenia in Lujbijana. His poetry appeared in the London Magazine, Poetry London, Ambit, Index on Censorship and also in the magazine Exiled Ink!

Mahfuz is an active member of Exiled Writers’ Ink in London. He is a regular reader at literature festivals and events and was invited to take part in the Poetry Festival at the South Bank last year. Although, Mahfuz writes fiction he is now concentrating wholly on poetry to improve his craft, and has successfully completed An Advanced Poetry Course at Arvon.  Following an injury to his back Mahfuz has dedicated all his energy to writing, and finds happiness in the craft and a desire to succeed in it, despite his ordeals.

Jacqueline Gabbitas

J Gabbitas

Jacqueline was born in Worksop, Nottinghamshire. Her poetry has been published in magazines such Magma, Oxford Magazine and Sheffield Thursday, and in anthologies including, Entering The Tapestry (Enitharmon2003), This little stretch of life (Hearing Eye 2006), and Images of Women (Arrowhead Press, 2006). She has won prizes in various writing competitions.

Jacqueline is an editor for Brittle Star magazine and a reader for The Literary Consultancy. She has an MA in Writing from Sheffield Hallam University and now attends courses at The Poetry School, where she also works part-time. Her pamphlet, Mid Lands, was published by Hearing Eye in 2007.


Matt Barnard

Lorraine Mariner

Jane Elizabeth Monson

Erica Wagner, Chair of Judges for Poetry, comments:
“What works is strength and originality in the use of language, a clear vision, and a willing to step to the edge without going over -- and all that we found in the work of our shortlisted authors.”

The judges for the 2007 poetry category were:

Erica Wagner (Chair)

Erica Wagner

Erica was born in New York in 1967. She has lived in England since 1986 and is now Literary Editor of The Times, where early versions of parts of her commentary on the poems of Ted Hughes, Ariel's Gift  (Faber 2000), first appeared. Her fiction has been widely anthologized and broadcast, and her collection of short stories, Gravity, is published by Granta Books.

Mimi Khalvati

Mimi Khalvati

Mimi was born in Tehran, Iran, and grew up on the Isle of Wight. She is co-ordinator of the Poetry School. Her poetry collections include Mirrorwork (1995), for which she was awarded an Arts Council Writers' Award, Entries on Light (1997), Selected Poems (2000) and The Chine (2002). In 2006 she won the Cholmondeley Award for Poetry.

Owen Sheers

Owen Sheers

Owen was born in Fiji and brought up in South Wales. The winner of an Eric Gregory Award, his first collection, The Blue Book (2000), was shortlisted for the Arts Council of Wales Book of the Year Award, and the Forward Poetry Prize (Best First Collection). His debut prose work, The Dust Diaries (2004), won the 2005 Arts Council of Wales Book of the Year Award, and his second collection, Skirrid Hill (2005), won a Somerset Maugham Award. His first novel, Resistance, will be published in 2007.

The submission process was managed by Booktrust on behalf of The New Writing Partnership.