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National poet and outgoing UK family doctor chief to judge 2011 Hippocrates Prize

Wales’ first national poet Gwyneth Lewis and outgoing Chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners Professor Steve Field CBE have joined the judging panel for the international competition for poetry and medicine, the 2011 Hippocrates Prize, which is for unpublished poems in English.

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 which is open to National Health Service employees, health students and those working in professional organisations involved in education and training of NHS students and staff.

With a 1st prize for the winning poem in each category of £5,000, the Hippocrates prize is one of the highest value poetry awards in the world for a single poem.

This is the second year that the Prize has taken place, organised by a joint team from the University of Warwick’s Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies and the University’s Medical School.

The inaugural Hippocrates Prize attracted more than 1,600 entries from 31 countries, from the Americas to Fiji and Finland to Australasia.

The winner in the ‘open’ category for 2010 was New Zealand poet CK Stead and the winner in the ‘NHS’ category was Wendy French, who facilitates creative writing for NHS professionals.

CK Stead said he was surprised and delighted to be the first winner, and remarked ‘I’m very happy the judges felt the experiment [writing about his own stroke] worked." Wendy French said “I'm thrilled to have won the NHS prize – my father was one of the first doctors to work for the NHS when it was formed in 1947.”

Professor Singer said:

“We are delighted to be continuing the highly successful format of the inaugural Hippocrates Prize, which resulted in Open and NHS awards to nationally and internationally recognized poets.

“A new twist is that we also now aim to encourage as many as possible aspiring young poets to take on the more established poets in the competition; many outstanding poets start writing great work at a young age.”

Michael Hulse added:

“The term ‘medical’ can be interpreted in the widest sense. Entries are open to members of the public, poets, patients, their friends and families and to health professionals and students.

All winning and commended poems will be published in a further Anthology of 46 poems. We thank the Fellowship of Postgraduate Medicine, Warwick’s Institute of Advanced Study, Head Teachers and Industry and the Cardiovascular Research Trust for their support.”

The closing date for the 2011 Hippocrates Prize is 31st January 2011.

The Awards will be announced at an International Symposium on Poetry and Medicine on 7th May 2011.

For details of how to enter the 2011 Prize, and for the Anthology and podcasts related to the inaugural 2010 Prize, visit

Notes to editors

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

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

Head Teachers and Industry is 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.

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


Themes for prize entries may include 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.


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 31st January 2011, and must be accompanied by an entry fee (£6 per poem). For more details please visit the website


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
The Hippocrates Prize judges include:

Gwyneth Lewis who 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 by 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 who was Chairman of the Council of the Royal College of General Practitioners from 2007-2010. Professor Field is recognised as a national leader in medical education. He is a Member of the Faculty of Harvard University’s program for leading innovation in healthcare and education.


More Information

Hippocrates Prize

Hippocrates Prize Website