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Winners announced for the 2011 Hippocrates Prize for Poetry and Medicine

The winners of the 2011 Hippocrates Prize for Poetry and Medicine were announced at a special symposium at the University of Warwick on Saturday May 7.

Belfast dentist Paula Cunningham’s poem The Chief Radiographer was judged the best attempt in the NHS category of the competition, with the author taking the £5,000 top prize – one of the highest value poetry awards in the world for a single poem.

The Chief Radiographer began as a short story and contains astonishing details from the lives of scientists Marie and Pierre Curie.

In the Open division Michael Henry collected an identical first prize pot with his The Patella Hammer, which refers to Michael’s orthopaedic surgeon father’s love of climbing in the Zugspitze, in Germany, just before the war, and includes images of bringing a lame leg to life.

Open runners-up were rising poetry star New Zealander Johanna Emeney, and London-based American playwright Cheryl Moskowitz. Last year’s NHS winner Wendy French was again highly rated, taking the NHS second place, with associate specialist in psychosexual medicine Dr Sandy Goldbeck-Wood in NHS third place.

This year’s Hippocrates Prize attracted around1,500 entries from 23 different countries across the globe, with professional and amateur poets submitting pieces on a medical theme.

Presentations by judges broadcaster Mark Lawson, leading GP Professor Steve Field CBE and poet Gwyneth Lewis took place at an International Symposium on Poetry and Medicine at the University of Warwick.

Broadcaster and writer Mark Lawson said: "I have judged numerous literary prizes, in many genres. This, though, was one of the most fascinating because of the contrasting literary and medical perspectives among both the writers and the judges. A metaphor that was linguistically powerful would turn out, through examination and second opinion, to be medically suspect or vice versa. The winners chosen through this process honour the best qualities of the professions of both poetry and medicine."

Professor Steve Field CBE added: "It is crucially important that health care workers understand the emotional journey of their patients. I was very impressed by the quality and range of entries. They show how poetry can help doctors, nurses and other NHS professionals gain better insight into how to practise the art of medicine and how patients perceive the care that they receive."

Poet Gwyneth Lewis said: "It’s a privilege to find poets engaged in teasing art from suffering – on both sides of the white coat – with such style and substance."

Organisers Professor of Therapeutics at Warwick Medical School Donald Singer and Warwick Writing Programme’s Michael Hulse were delighted with the success of the Prize and the symposium.

Donald Singer said: “We congratulate our award-winners and are delighted that 9 of 20 Open category commendations went to poets from the USA, Canada and New Zealand. The enormous international interest in the awards gives us great encouragement to continue the Hippocrates Prize as a major annual international award for poetry and medicine. ”

Michael Hulse added: “We are grateful for support for the Awards Symposium and the Hippocrates Prize from the Fellowship of Postgraduate Medicine, the Cardiovascular Research Trust and Heads, Teachers and Industry. The winning and commended poems in the Hippocrates Prize are available as an anthology from”.

Notes to editors

Photos of the winners, along with extracts of their poems are available on request.

For more information, please contact Luke Hamer, Assistant Press Officer, University of Warwick on 02476 575 601 or 07824 541142, or alternatively email

Awards In each category: 1st prize £5,000, 2nd prize £1,000, 3rd prize of £500, and 20 commendations each of £50.

Winners for the 2011 Hippocrates Prize for Poetry and Medicine

Winners for Open Awards

1st Prize

Michael Henry - The Patella Hammer Born in Liverpool in 1942, the son of an orthopaedic surgeon, Michael Henry grew up in Cheltenham where he now lives. He read Modern Languages at Oxford. In his twenties he emigrated to teach in Canada and had his first poems published there, and broadcast by the Canadian Broadcasting Company. Since returning to England he’s had five collections published, four with Enitharmon Press. Footnote to History (2001) is a poetic biography of his uncle who was a prisoner-of-war. His latest publication, After the Dancing Dogs (2008), is about journeys - real, imaginary and personal. The book he is currently working on concerns family and identity.

2nd Prize

Cheryl Moskowitz - Correspondence with the Care Home Cheryl Moskowitz was born in Chicago and has lived in London since the age of 11. Formerly an actor and playwright she co-founded the organization LAPIDUS (Literary Arts in Personal Development) in 1996 and has trained in dramatherapy and psychodynamic counseling. She taught on the Creative Writing and Personal Development MA at Sussex University for fourteen years and currently facilitates writing projects in various areas of the community including schools, prisons and with the homeless. Her novel Wyoming Trail (Granta) was published in 1998 and her poetry collection for children, Can It Be About Me, (Circle Time Press) in 2009.

3rd Prize

Johanna Emeney - Radiologist's Report One of New Zealand's rising poetry stars, Cambridge graduate Johanna's first collection 'Apple & Tree' is going to be published in July 2011 by Cape Catley Ltd. Johanna's work has appeared in the UK in The Guardian, and in Metro, North & South, Takahe and other New Zealand publications. Jo Emeney is an English teacher who lives on Auckland's North Shore. She has been back home in New Zealand for four years, having spent fourteen years in England.

Winners for NHS Awards

1st Prize

Paula Cunningham - The Chief Radiographer Considers Paula Cunningham was born in Omagh Co Tyrone in 1963 and has lived in Belfast for much of her adult life. She works part-time as a dentist. Paula’s poems have been widely anthologised in Ireland and beyond. Her poetry chapbook, 'A Dog Called Chance' was published by Smith Doorstop Books in 1999. Generous selections occur in Bloodaxe's 'The New Irish Poets' and Lagan's 'Magnetic North.' She has also published short fiction, and written for radio and stage. Her book, A Dog Called Chance, was published by Smith Doorstop in 1999. She has also written plays for Tinderbox and BBC Radio 4, and a short story appeared in Faber’s Best New Irish Short Stories 2004-5.

2nd Prize

Wendy French - The Doctor's Wife Wendy French promotes writing in healthcare, educational and community settings currently working on two projects with people who have suffered from strokes or brain damage. She is past head of the Bethlem and Maudsley Hospital School. She co- convenes the London group of Lapidus. Wendy won the NHS section of the Hippocrates Poetry & Medicine prize in April 2010. The winning poem, ‘it's about a man’, is about her father, one of the first doctors to work in the NHS in 1947. Wendy French’s new collection, surely you know this, was published by tall lighthouse in 2009. Wendy’s other collection Splintering the Dark and 3 co-edited books of poetry written by young people in hospital are all published by Rockingham.

3rd Prize

Dr. Sandy Goldbeck-Wood - Inappropriate ADH Dr. Sandy Goldbeck-Wood is a doctor in gynaecology and psychosexual medicine, and a medical editor. She was commended for her NHS entry in the 2010 Hippocrates Prize.

The Hippocrates Prize judges

Mark Lawson is the main presenter of Front Row, BBC Radio 4's nightly arts programme and runs an interview series on BBC4 (Mark Lawson Talks To ...). He is a Guardian writer, is theatre critic of the Tablet and previously wrote for the Times, the Independent, the Independent on Sunday, and the Universe. Other writing includes 4 works of fiction, several BBC radio plays, and episodes of the BBC sitcom Absolute Power.

Gwyneth Lewis was appointed Wales’ first National Poet in 2005. She is celebrated for her writings on poetry and medicine, including her recent, A Hospital Odyssey, published in 2010 (Bloodaxe) and described by Nobel Prize-winner Sir Martin Evans as a ‘beautifully written poem that describes the epic journey of the soul…’.

Professor Steve Field CBE is a national leader in medical education. He is Chairman of the National Health Inclusion Board and is a Member of the Faculty of the Harvard University program for leading innovation in healthcare and education. He was Chairman of the Council of the Royal College of General Practitioners from 2007-2010.

Hippocrates Prize Organisers

Donald Singer is Professor of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics, University of Warwick, and President of the Fellowship of Postgraduate Medicine. His interests include research on discovery of new therapies, and public understanding of drugs, health and disease.

Michael Hulse is a poet and translator of German literature, and teaches creative writing and comparative literature at the University of Warwick. He is also editor of The Warwick Review. His latest publications are: The Secret History (poems, Arc) and The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge (translation of Rilke's novel, Penguin Classics). With Donald Singer he co-founded in 2009 the International Hippocrates Prize for Poetry and Medicine. Judges for the inaugural 2010 Hippocrates Prize were broadcaster James Naughtie, poet and doctor, Dannie Abse and NHS Medical Director Sir Brian Keogh.

The 2011 Hippocrates prize is supported by

The Fellowship of Postgraduate Medicine, a national medical society founded in 1918 and publisher of the Postgraduate Medical Journal

The Cardiovascular Research Trust, a charity founded in 1996, which promotes research and education for the prevention and treatment of disorders of the heart and circulation.

Heads, Teachers and Industry, an educational charity in existence for almost 25 years, which brings together schools and businesses to support the next generation in getting the education they deserve.