News | Poetry Prize 2019: Sharon Black wins award for second time


The London Magazine Poetry Prize 2019 awarded first place to British poet Sharon Black for a second year running, after her latest poem ‘Avocado’ impressed our panel of judges during this year’s competition.

Lucy Binnersley, assistant editor of The London Magazine, praised ‘Avocado’ highly, commenting on the poem’s “startling and tender, invocatory power,” as a reminder of the “profound ability that poetry has to combine rawness with consolation. Sharon’s poem conveys a deep sense of rootedness and hope.”

All submissions were read anonymously by the panel of judges, Chris Hamilton Emery (Salt Publishing), Martha Sprackland (Poetry London, Offord Road Books, Rough Trade Books) and Zaffar Kunial (Faber). The standard was particularly high this year and we thank everyone who entered to the competition.

Sharon Black (pictured) wins The London Magazine’s Poetry Prize for second time

Black, whose poem ‘The Lean Years’ won first place in 2018, was recognised as winner again last week, on Thursday 28th November, at a prize-giving ceremony at the Travellers Club library, held under the auspices of The London Magazine.

Following the prize-giving, Martha Sprackland commented:

“The standard of the poems we received was particularly high, the subject matter various. There were a number of poems concerned with parent–child relationships, and the distant world of childhood. Unsurprisingly, I noticed the way a number of poems wrote towards the wild world – these weren’t delicate pastorals or moony nature poems, but poems in which landscape, plants and weather were unpredictable, in turmoil, or with an undercurrent of threat.

“The wild world of the city also made an appearance, its politicised architecture and clamouring streets. There were poems about the body in extremis and in recovery; poems about translation, about uncertainty, about rescue, about violence, about painting, about flies, about family.”

The full list of winners, celebrated for their diverse and innovative poetry, includes:

  • First place: ‘Avocado’ by Sharon Black
  • Second place: ‘My failed life as a Swedish Painter’ by Paula Harris
  • Third place: ‘Gospel Oak to Barking’ by Daniel Fraser

As well as receiving prizes of £500, £300 and £200 respectively, the winners are published and available to read in the latest December/January issue of The London Magazine. For more information concerning our Winter issue, visit our single issues catalogue.

The London Magazine has been home to some of the most prestigious poets in its long publishing history, from John Keats to Sylvia Plath and Derek Walcott. Our annual Poetry Prize seeks out new voices in poetry, providing a platform for publication in the UK’s oldest literary journal.

For a chance to win up to £500, enter The London Magazine Short Story Prize, now open for submissions. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for the latest announcements.



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