Conceived by Edwin Morgan with the aim of supporting young poets to reach new heights, the Edwin Morgan Poetry Award sits at the core of the Edwin Morgan Trust’s work. In 2021, the Trust worked to reformat the EMPA to address barriers to entry in order to actively reach communities that have been historically underrepresented in the prize. We changed the entry criteria, assembled a Nomination Committee, who nominated promising young poets deserving of the EMPA, and established an open stream for applications, which were reviewed by two Peer Reviewers to ensure all voices had a chance to be heard.

Our review panel Vahni (Anthony Ezekiel) Capildeo, Maria Fusco, Gillebride MacMillan, Alycia Pirmohamed, Nadine Aisha Jassat, together with Jeda Pearl Lewis and Kelly Kanayama from Scottish BIPOC Writers Network and Drew Taylor-Wilson from Sanctuary Queer Arts have spent months of careful consideration with this year’s entries and we are delighted to announce our 2022 EMPA shortlist.

Join us on August 22 at the Edinburgh International Book Festival for the EMPA winner(s) announcement along with a special Edwin Morgan celebration showcase. Read more here.

Nasim Rebecca Asl for Vignettes of acceptance (Spring 2021)

Nasim Rebecca Asl is a Glasgow based poet and journalist. Her work has been widely published, including in Gutter Magazine and Modern Poetry in Translation. In 2021 she was the recipient of a Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award for Poetry and performed on the BBC’s Big Scottish Book Club.

Titilayo Farukuoye for My Body is Not an Apology  

Titilayo Farukuoye is an Austrian-Nigerian writer and organiser based in Glasgow. Titilayo co-directs SBWN and the Anti-racist Educator, and curated Our (In)visible Strengths (2018). Their poetry featured at Fringe of Colour, 2020 Mixtape, Wrapped Up in This and Edinburgh Multicultural Festival. Media4Change and Future News Worldwide have recognised Titilayo’s journalistic work.

Roshni Gallagher for The Whitby

Roshni Gallagher is a poet based in Edinburgh. She’s a Scottish Book Trust New Writer’s Awardee 2022. Her work has appeared in a variety of literary publications including Best Scottish Poems 2020, Gutter, New Writing Scotland, and The Scotsman newspaper. In her work, she explores themes of nature, connection, and memory. 

Jay Gao for Joyousness

Jay Gao is the author of Imperium, forthcoming from Carcanet Press, as well as the poetry pamphlets, TRAVESTY58Katabasis, and Wedding Beasts. He is a Contributing Editor at The White Review. Originally from Edinburgh, Scotland, he is an incoming PhD student at Columbia University.

Alyson Kissner for Nightshade 

Alyson Kissner is a Canadian-born poet completing her doctorate at the University of Edinburgh. Alyson has published in GutterThe Rumpus, and was recently a runner-up for Small Orange Journal’s Emerging Woman Poet Honour. She also works within the charity sector, developing intersectional courses on surviving domestic and sexual violence.

Iona Lee for Isle

Iona Lee is an Edinburgh-born poet, performer, artist and music-maker. She has been a prominent member of the Scottish live poetry scene for almost ten years, and has read her work all over the UK and Europe. Her debut pamphlet was published by Polygon in 2018 and was shortlisted for a Saltire Award. 

Michael Mullen for Lay Down With Dogs

Michael Mullen is a queer poet from Rutherglen. Writing in both Scots and Standard English their writing explores themes of identity, class and culture. Using a mix of humour and pathos, rhyme and free verse, their poetry interrogates the queer experience, working class stories and the Scottish psyche.

Bibi June Schwithal for Kinsey Scale

Bibi June (they/them) is a poet creating odd and interactive art. Their recent poetry pamphlets include ‘Critique of the Criminal Justice System‘ (Stewed Rhubarb, 2020) and ‘Kinsey Scale for Emotionally Fragile Queer’ (Burning Eye Books, summer 2022). They write about queer joy, post-apocalyptic optimism and disability justice, among others.

We’d also like to congratulate five poets who have been Highly Commended by our judging panel:

Carl Alexandersson for Uppväxt // Growth
Hannah Ledlie for distanced
Craig Lithgow for A Wound
Robbie MacLeod for Priobadh
Sulaïman Majali for i dreamt i was a stone at tel el-kebir

We would like to say a huge thank you to our review panel for the time and patience they committed to the judging process and their careful and thoughtful consideration of the submissions. We at the Trust feel incredibly fortunate to have had such an engaged panel of mentors.

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