Poetry Prize to go ahead online

Judith Rodriguez Open Section judge, Nathan Curnow.

This year’s national Woorilla Poetry Prize is one of the latest events that will shift to online next month.

The prize, that draws entries from all over Australia, was first held in 1989 and is now a stand-alone event of Emerald’s PAVE Festival.

The award ceremony is typically held in Emerald’s GEMCO Theatre but will now take place virtually due to Covid-19 restrictions.

While Covid-19 has impacted how the award ceremony will be held, it is also set to influence the nature of poetry that is submitted.

Emerald poet and storyteller John Sheills said a crisis like Covid-19 bears significant impact on writers.

“There’s something about the sheer magnitude of a global pandemic that induces an awful inertia and without access to social exchange it’s a struggle to articulate this poetically,” he said.

The Woorilla Poetry Prize has two categories including The Judith Rodriguez Open Prize Category, judged by Nathan Curnow, and The Louise Rockne Youth Prize Category, judged by Emily Zoey Baker.

There is also a prize for those whose first language is not English.

The online event will be opened by Cardinia Mayor Jeff Springfield and will feature the announcement of winners, readings of winning poems and performances by musicians Lili-Violet and James Franklin.

Talks from Kevin Brophy, Emeritus Professor of Creative Writing, Melbourne Uni and poet and author Sandy Jeffs will also be held.

The Woorilla Poetry Prize award ceremony will take place on 1 November at 2pm.

To register, head to the Woorilla Poetry Prize Facebook page.