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Warwick alumna awarded £15,000 poetry fellowship

Jane AlumnaWarwick alumna Jane Commane is a creatively ambitious poet who has been awarded a £15,000 poetry fellowship by the Jerwood Charitable Foundation and Arts Council England.

Originally from Coventry and now based in Warwickshire, Jane Commane, who achieved both her Bachelor of Arts and Masters degrees in the English and Comparative Literature Studies department at the University of Warwick is a page poet and editor whose work interrogates the complexities of class, ideas of place and identity, and examines the current troubled climate of austerity Britain.

Jane Commane said: The Fellowship is permission to take your work seriously, by gifting the time and resources to make that concentration on the quiet work - the craft of poetry - possible. Poetry has a really important role in how we respond to and interpret the world about us; there's no doubt we're living in strange and challenging times as a country, and as a world.

"I will be thinking and writing about poetry's role in terms of history in the making, and how poetry can be a voice for change, documentation and response to our age. People and place mean a great deal to me, so no doubt the Midlands, and canals, rivers, cities and roads will be themes that find their way into some of this too.”

Jane will receive a share of a £45,000 professional development opportunity for poets, one of three fellowships awarded. The fellowships have been made possible thanks to a collaboration between Jerwood Charitable Foundation and Arts Council England through a bequest from Mr Joseph Compton in 1964.

The year-long Fellowships invest in the process and practice of making poetry, rewarding individuals who are making, or are capable of making, a significant contribution to a community of poetry. A distinctive part of the Fellowships is that they provide an open space for poetic practice, with no expectation of published work or performed events as a result of the award.

Over the Fellowship year, the poets will also have access to mentors and critical friends to help realise their vision, as they develop and enhance their practice. The initiative will award three bursaries biennially for three editions between 2017 and 2022.

The selection panel included writer, critic and academic David Dabydeen (University of Warwick), poets Kate Fox and Mimi Khalvati, Gemma Seltzer, Relationship Manager (Literature), Arts Council England and Shonagh Manson, Director, Jerwood Charitable Foundation.

The successful Fellows were selected from a strong field of nominees who reflect the growing depth and breadth of poetry activity across the country, from grassroots to academic level, with a persistent theme of entrepreneurship, and a growing trend of hybrid styles which intersect with a variety of art forms.

Sarah Crown, Director of Literature, Arts Council England, said: “The Jerwood Compton Poetry Fellowships offer an unprecedented opportunity to create groundbreaking work and make a real impact within the poetry sector, as well as highlighting the vibrancy of the scene within the UK today. We’re delighted that our collaboration with Jerwood Charitable Foundation is able to provide much-needed funding for poets ready to take the next step in their career.”

Shonagh Manson, Director, Jerwood Charitable Foundation, added: “Working with Arts Council England to dream up an opportunity all about poets and poetry has been an immense privilege. As a panel, we were taken aback by the quality of submissions, and humbled by the sheer vivacity of the poetry community. It’s a community of self-starters who are making their own opportunities where often there are none. While this is commendable, I am proud that we have been able to award three inaugural bursaries with substantial financial support. Through the programme I hope we can inspire further support for this crucial and often under supported art form.”

The Fellowships start in August 2017.

The official hashtag for the Fellowships is: #ComptonPoetry




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Notes to editors

Project credit:

A collaboration between Jerwood Charitable Foundation and Arts Council England with funds from the Joseph Compton bequest.

Jerwood Compton Poetry Fellowships

The Jerwood Compton Fellowships is a programme through which Jerwood Charitable Foundation supports individual artists whose practice encompasses poetry in the broadest artistic sense. The Fellowships run biennially for three editions between 2017 and 2022 supporting a total of nine artists, with no expectation of published or performed work. The Jerwood Compton Poetry Fellowships support creatively ambitious and generous practitioners who have the potential to make a significant contribution to the poetry community.

The Jerwood Compton Poetry Fellowships are made possible using accrued interest from a bequest made by Mr Joseph Compton in 1964 to the Arts Council together with funds from Jerwood Charitable Foundation and Arts Council England. For more information on the Fellowships, visit:


Jerwood Compton Poetry Fellows 2017-2018

Jane Commane was born in Coventry and lives in Warwickshire. Her first collection of poems, Assembly Lines, is due from Bloodaxe in 2018. Her poetry has featured in anthologies and magazines, including Anon, And Other Poems, Bare Fiction, Tears in the Fence and The Morning Star. In 2016, she was chosen to join Writing West Midlands’ Room 204 writer development programme. A graduate of the Warwick Writing Programme, Jane is editor at Nine Arches Press, co-editor of Under the Radar magazine and co-author (with Jo Bell) of How to Be a Poet, a creative writing handbook and blog.

Raymond Antrobus is a British Jamaican poet and poetry educator born in Hackney, East London. His work has been published in a range of publications, including Poetry Review, POETRY (US), The Rialto, Magma, The Deaf Poets Society. Raymond is one of the world’s first recipients of a Creative Writing and Education MA (Goldsmiths University) and is the former lead educator on the Spoken Word education programme. His latest publication is To Sweeten Bitter (Out-Spoken Press, 2017). Raymond is also the co-curator of one of London’s most popular Spoken Word and poetry shows, Chill Pill.

Jackie Hagan is an underclass, queer artist who downs cut-price lager from her false leg. Raised in Skelmersdale and now based in Manchester, Jackie invented stump-puppetry and undercuts taboos with warm wit. Her first play ‘Cosmic Scallies’ is being co-produced by Graeae Theatre Company and The Royal Exchange. Jackie’s first solo show ‘Some People Have Too Many Legs’ won a clutch of awards. Her new solo show ‘Jumble Soul’ recently won an Unlimited Commission. Jackie represented the UK at FLUPP International poetry slam and was the focus of a C4 documentary. She has delivered over 2,000 workshops and is committed to the broken, forgotten and vilified.

Jerwood Compton Poetry Fellowships: Shortlisted candidates

The shortlisted candidates were Anthony Anaxagorou, Sasha Dugdale, Salena Godden, Khadijah Ibrahim and Yomi Sode.

Jerwood Charitable Foundation

Jerwood Charitable Foundation is an independent grant-making foundation and UK registered charity dedicated to imaginative and responsible funding of the arts, with a particular focus on supporting talent and excellence. We work with exceptional, dedicated artists and producers, enabling them to develop and thrive at important stages in their practice, often in partnership with leading UK arts organisations.

Arts Council England

Arts Council England champions, develops and invests in artistic and cultural experiences that enrich people's lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries - from theatre to digital art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2015 and 2018, we plan to invest £1.1 billion of public money from government and an estimated £700 million from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country.


Alex Buxton
Media Relations Manager
Tel: 02476 150423
Mob: 07876 218166


Tom Frew - Senior Press and Media Relations Manager:

T: +44(0)7785433155