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2023 Newcastle Poetry Prize Winners Announced

On Saturday 18 November 2023 at the
University of Newcastle’s state-of-the-art Q Building,

the winners of the 2023 Newcastle Poetry Prize were announced, 
with Kevin Smith taking home the first prize for his poem, ‘The Crossing’.


First Prize:
Kevin Smith, ‘The Crossing’


Second Prize: 
Mark Tredinnick, ‘Lines for Late Winter; Or, the Reef Heron’


Third Prize:
Jo Gardiner, ‘A Country Childhood’


Highly Commended:
Todd Turner, ‘On the Vale of Soul-Making’

Dženana Vucic, ‘my father sits in a room alone’


Harri Jones Memorial Prize: 
Jake Goetz, ‘Internal Climates’


Local Award:
Jean Kent, ‘A Garden of the World’


Hunter Writers’ Centre Member Award 
Christopher (Kit) Kelen, ‘Bukovina’


2023 Newcastle Poetry Prize Anthology

The Crossing

Introducing the 2023 Newcastle Poetry Prize Anthology, The Crossing, showcasing the best of Australian poetry. The anthology presents the shortlisted poems from the 2023 competition, as well as the award-winning title piece, ‘The Crossing’ by Kevin Smith.

Contributing (Shortlisted) Poets: Eileen Chong, Joe Dolce, SJ Finn, Jo Gardiner, Susan Garman, Jake Goetz, Kerry Greer, Andrew Heath, Paul Hetherington, Christopher (Kit) Kelen, Jean Kent, Jennifer Kornberger, Roberta Lowing, Greg McLaren, Rachael Mead, Audrey Molloy, Mark O’Flynn, Vuong Pham, Bronwyn Rodden, Robyn Rowland, Kevin Smith, Craig Smith, Mark Tredinnick, Todd Turner, Dženana Vucic, Jo Ward

The 2023 anthology is available for purchase at the Hunter Writers’ Centre bookshop.

Cover art by Leslie Duffin.

About the Newcastle Poetry Prize

For over 30 years, the Newcastle Poetry Prize has championed Australian poets and their craft. With its generous prize pool sponsored by The University of Newcastle, and a first prize of $15,000, this significant competition provides a platform for both emerging and established voices to shine. The national attention garnered by the prize has solidified Newcastle’s position as a prominent cultural hub for poetry in Australia.

Renowned poets and judges have lauded the Newcastle Poetry Prize for its notable impact on Australian literature. The Prize embraces the long form poem, allowing poets to explore their craft across up to 200 lines. This distinctive aspect presents a challenge for poets to skilfully sustain their work, carefully balancing tone, pace, and rhythm to captivate readers throughout the journey.

The accompanying anthology, a hallmark of the Newcastle Poetry Prize, captures the vibrant state of Australian poetry, featuring not only shorter verses but also longer, thought-provoking works that challenge and inspire.

About Hunter Writers' Centre

The Hunter Writers’ Centre is an incorporated, not-for-profit organisation established in 1995, providing support and opportunities to writers, writing and storytelling in other artistic media in the Hunter Valley region.  

Hunter Writers’ Centre promotes and supports writing and related cultural activities for both beginners and practised writers and artists.  We achieve this through workshops, short courses, residencies, a network of local writer’s groups, competitions, and awards.

In 2021, the Hunter Writers’ Centre established Lighthouse Arts, a multi-arts activation of Nobbys-Whibayganba headland cottages. The project involves writer and artist residencies, studio spaces, exhibition space, an arts trading store, and live events.