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2021
Submissions open

About Kenneth Slessor

The Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry is named after poet and journalist Kenneth Adolf Slessor (1901-1971). Born at Orange, New South Wales, Slessor’s family moved to Sydney in 1903. He began writing poetry as a child, with his first publication, a dramatic monologue, appearing in The Bulletin in 1916. Only a year later, his poem ‘Jerusalem Set Free’ won the Victoria League Prize. Slessor began as a cadet journalist with The Sun and later became editor of Smith’s Weekly, 1935-40, during which period he wrote most of his poetry. He developed close friendships with Norman Lindsay, Hugh McCrae and Jack Lindsay.  Slessor’s appointment as official war correspondent in World War Two took him to Greece, Syria, Egypt and later New Guinea, returning to Sydney in 1944 to work for The Sun. His reputation as poet grew as a result of his published collection One Hundred Poems, 1919-1939, which was reissued several times. In 1957 he moved to the Daily Telegraph where he stayed until his sudden death in 1971.

The judging panel

Jane McCredie

Senior Judge

Jane McCredie is an award-winning journalist, writer and reviewer who has been widely published in Australia and internationally. A former book publisher, she is the CEO of Writing NSW and the founder and director of the Quantum Words Festival of writing about science.

She is the author of Making Girls and Boys: Inside the science of sex and was coeditor of the 2013 anthology of The Best Australian Science Writing. Jane is a graduate of the Australia Council’s arts leaders program and has previously chaired both the Christina Stead and Douglas Stewart panels of the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards.

Photo of Lachlan Brown

Lachlan Brown

Chair

Lachlan Brown is a senior lecturer in English at Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga. He is the author of Limited Cities (Giramondo, 2012) and Lunar Inheritance (Giramondo, 2017). Lachlan's poetry has been published in various journals including Antipodes, Cordite, and Rabbit. He has previously been involved in judging the Gwen Harwood Poetry Prize and the Mary Gilmore Poetry Prize.

Lachlan currently is the vice-president of Booranga Writers Centre in Wagga Wagga and the NSW representative for the Association for the Study of Australian Literature (ASAL).

Eunice Andrada

Eunice Andrada

Eunice Andrada is a poet and educator living on unceded Gadigal Land. Her debut poetry collection Flood Damages (2018) won the Anne Elder Award and was a finalist in the Victorian Premier's Literary Award for Poetry and the Dame Mary Gilmore Award. She has performed her poetry on diverse international stages, including the UN Climate Conference in Paris, Sydney Opera House, and the Parliament of New South Wales.

Through her work in ecopoetics, she was awarded the Australian Poetry & NAHR Eco-Poetry Fellowship in Northern Italy. In 2020, the Museum of Sydney will feature her poetry in the exhibition A Thousand Words.

Rico Craig

Rico Craig

Rico Craig is a writer, workshop facilitator and award-winning poet whose work melds the narrative, lyrical and cinematic. Craig is published widely both in Australia and internationally. His poetry has been awarded prizes or shortlisted for the Val Vallis Prize, Newcastle Poetry Prize, Dorothy Porter Poetry Prize and University of Canberra Poetry Prize.

BONE INK (UWAP), his first poetry collection, was winner of the 2017 Anne Elder Award and shortlisted for the Kenneth Slessor Poetry Prize 2018. Since 2012 he has worked as Storyteller-in-Chief at the Story Factory, designing and facilitating creative writing programs for young people, and teacher development programs for adults.

About the award

The Kenneth Slessor Prize ($30,000) is offered to a poet for a book of collected poems or for a single poem of substantial length published in book form. A collection of poems may consist partly of work previously published in book form, but this work must be clearly identified by the nominator. In such cases the judges will assess only the new work and determine whether it is sufficient, in quantity and quality, to merit an award. A collection of poems may be published in a book containing the work of up to four poets. The judges will exercise their discretion in determining whether the work of the nominated poet is sufficient to make it eligible for an award.

Past winners and shortlists

2020

Cover image of the book Enfolded in the WIngs of a Great Darkness.
Vagabond Press
Winner
Cover image for the book An Open Book.
University of Queensland Press
Shortlisted
Cover image of the book Apparently.
Giramondo Publishing
Shortlisted
Cover image of the book Empirical.
Giramondo Publishing
Shortlisted
Cover image for the book Archival-Poetics.
Vagabond Press
Shortlisted
Cover image of the book After the Demolition.
Cordite Publishing, Inc.
Shortlisted

2019

Interval Book Cover
University of Queensland Press
Winner
Rondo II
Carcanet Press Ltd
Shortlisted
Blindside
Puncher & Wattmann
Shortlisted
I Love Poetry
The Giramondo Publishing Company
Shortlisted
Things I've thought to tell you
Recent Work Press
Shortlisted
Wildlife of Berlin
UWA Publishing
Shortlisted