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Prize fund of £15,000 for new international medical poetry competition

Broadcaster, journalist and writer James Naughtie is to join NHS Medical Director Professor Sir Bruce Keogh and poet and doctor Dannie Abse to judge a new pair of national and international medical poetry awards.

The Hippocrates Prize is being organised by a joint team from the University of Warwick’s Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies and the University’s Medical School.

There is a £15,000 award fund for the prizes, which will be given in an ‘open’ category which anyone can enter and in an ‘NHS’ category open to National Health Service employees and health students. The first prize for the winning poem in each category is £5,000.

Professor Donald Singer,  Professor in Clinical Pharmacology at Warwick Medical School and President of the Fellowship of Postgraduate Medicine,  said the term ‘medical’ could be interpreted in the widest sense. 

He said: “This includes the nature of the body and anatomy; the history, evolution, current and future state of medical science; the nature and experience of tests; the experience of doctors, nurses and other staff in hospitals and in the community. Other topics might include the experience of patients, families, friends and carers; the experiences of acute and long-term illness and dying, of birth, of cure and convalescence; the patient journey; the nature and experience of treatment with herbs, chemicals and devices used in medicine.”

Fellow Prize organiser, poet Michael Hulse from the University of Warwick’s Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies, said: “In addition to a prize-giving event at Warwick University, all winning and commended poems will be published in a book of 46 poems. The highest ranked 300 entries will also be published electronically. We thank the Institute of Advanced Study at the University of Warwick and the Fellowship of Postgraduate Medicine for their support of this new international poetry prize.”   

Poems entered must be of no more than 50 lines. Submissions must be made in an anonymised format, with contact details provided separately from the title and text of a submitted poem. All submissions must be made by the deadline of 12am 15th February 2010, and must be accompanied by an entry fee (£6 per poem). For more details please visit the website www.hippocrates-poetry.orgPrize categoriesThere will be two prize categories:

  • an ‘open’ category in which any UK or international entrant may submit
  • an ‘NHS’ category open to any current or former National Health Service employee or UK health profession student

In each category there will be:

  • a first prize of ₤5,000
  • a second prize of ₤1,000
  • a third prize of ₤500
  • 20 commendations each of ₤50

Poems by NHS employees and UK health profession students will be read by the judges with both ‘open’ and ‘NHS’ prizes in mind. An NHS employee or UK health profession student may win a prize in the ‘open’ category.  A poem entered by a non-NHS writer may only win a prize in the ‘open’ category. 

The Hippocrates Prize judges  

Dannie Abse Poet and chest physician, whose celebrated writings have brought him many literary awards and distinctions, including election as a Fellow of The Royal Society of Literature and an honorary doctorate from the University of Wales. His New Selected Poems was recently published by Hutchinson. 

Professor Sir Bruce Keogh NHS medical director. Sir Bruce is an eminent cardiac surgeon and Past-President of the Society for Cardiothoracic Surgery in Great Britain and Ireland.  

James Naughtie Broadcaster, journalist and writer, is a presenter of Today on BBC Radio 4 and host of Radio 4's monthly Bookclub. He worked as a political correspondent at Westminster for many years and has written two books on the Blair era, and an account of the story of classical music. He is Chancellor of the University of Stirling, a trustee of the Man Booker Prize for Fiction and a Fellow of the British-American Project.

Notes to editors
The Fellowship of Postgraduate Medicine is a national medical society founded in 1918 and publisher of the Postgraduate Medical Journal. For more information please contact Kelly Parkes-Harrison, Communications Officer, University of Warwick,, 02476 150483, 07824 540863.