New Poets Prize Winners 2020

We are utterly delighted that 17-year-old Georgie Woodhead of Sheffield Young Writers, and 18-year-old Lauren Hollingsworth Smith of Rotherham Young Writers, are both winners of the international New Poets Prize 2020 – for their debut pamphlet collections ‘Takeaway’ and ‘Ugly Bird’. Both have been part of the Hive network for several years and are also members of Hive’s Poetry Collective, and new recruits to the Writing Squad. 

Poet and mentor Vicky Morris says: “I’m so thrilled for them both. So young and so much talent! They’re both a pleasure to work with and have their own distinct voices. It’s been a joy watching them grow into them through Hive.”

Bagging the highly sought after prize offers Georgie and Lauren the wonderful prize of pamphlet publication with The Poetry Business alongside two other winners, Gboyega Odubanjo and Lucy Holt – a huge congratulations to all!

We want to say a massive thank you to The Poetry Business for supporting early-career writers so young, and offering this wonderful opportunity to move onto publication. Georgie and Lauren join fellow Hive poet, Warda Yassin, who won the New Poets Prize in 2018 with her wonderful pamphlet, Tea With Cardamom available here. This year’s judge was Luke Kennard.

Luke Kennard on Lauren’s collection, ‘Ugly Bird’
Hollingsworth–Smith’s poems are immediately and joyfully readable even at their darkest, and Ugly Bird is full of masterful juxtapositions, emotional swerves and perfect details (the angle of an OHP, the plastic tiara prongs). It’s such a skill to navigate these waters with such attentiveness; defiant, ecstatic powers of observation transfiguring the ordinary with wit and self-awareness.


Lauren says: “I’m overwhelmed to win the New Poets Prize! I wouldn’t be where I am now without Hive. It’s opened up so many opportunities for me and realised my dream of being a published writer. Thank you so much, and to The Poetry Business, for this amazing opportunity.”

Lauren Hollingsworth Smith is an 18-year-old writer from Rotherham and a member of Hive’s poetry collective and Rotherham Young Writers. She was one of 15 winners in the international Foyle Young Poet of the Year Awards in 2019, and was highly commended in the Young Northern Writers Award and Ilkley Young Writers Competition in the same year. Lauren volunteers as a writing mentor with children at Grimm & Co and is passionate about continuing to build her craft as a writer. She has been published in Hive anthologies, halfway smile and surfing the twilight, and by The Poetry Society. She was recently commissioned to write a poem for Hive’s Birdlife project. Lauren has performed at various young writers’ events and festivals including the Ted Hughes Poetry Festival. She is a new recruit to the Writing Squad.

Luke Kennard on Georgie’s collection, ‘Takeaway’
Takeaway is a vivid and powerful collection. Expansive but precise lines and stanzas give Woodhead the space to explore the lives and scenes she depicts. So many of the images here are breathtaking and will really stay with me. ‘Harry Collins’ is such a vivid, poignant and angry character study and the title poem alone was enough to convince me that I was in the presence of a significant and urgent new voice. Uncompromising in its depiction of brutalities without ever sacrificing the humanity and compassion of the poet’s vision.


Georgie says: “I’m thrilled to be a Winner of the New Poets Prize 2020! Thank you to Hive for the incredible support, advice, and mentorship over the years to get to this stage.”

Georgie Woodhead is a 17-year-old writer who attends Sheffield Young Writers and Hive’s Poetry Collective. In 2018 she was a winner of the Foyle Young Poet of the Year, one of two highly commended young poets in the Young Northern Writers Award, and 2nd place winner in the Ledbury Poetry Competition (young people’s category). In 2019 she was the winner of the BBC Young Writer of The Year and was Young Poet in Residence at Sheaf Poetry Festival. In 2020 she was a recipient of the Newcastle Young Writers Prize, and was highly commended in the Prole Laureate Poetry Competition. Georgie has been published in the Hive anthologies, Halfway Smile, Wild Poetry and Surfing the Twilight, and by places like the Poetry Society and the Poetry Village. She’s performed widely at open mics and live events including the Ted Hughes Poetry Festival 2018, and has been a guest on Ian McMillan’s The Verb on Radio 3. She is a new recruit to the Writing Squad.

For more information, and to purchase 2020’s New Poets publications (when they are hot off the press!) visit The Poetry Business

Every Little Helps – Isabel Hawksworth

How Far Is Too Far? Isabelle Osborne

How far is too far? Track & Trace in the Time of Pandemics

Over the course of the coronavirus pandemic, countries across the world have reacted to reducing its spread and devastation in dramatically different ways. Here in the UK, our government has taken the defensive approach, locking down the country

Spring News…

Greetings from Hive HQ! Just a little update celebrating a few bits of good news (and let’s face it, we need all the good news we can get right now!) and a few reminders…

Firstly, the last bit of amazing goodness to happen before lockdown – Sheffield Young Writer Niamh Brownhill is the 2020 BBC Young Reporter National Gold Winner! Niamh is interested in a career in journalism so that is a wonderful boost for her. You can read her brilliantly honest piece I Quit College to Look After my Alcoholic Mum, on the BBC’s website here. Niamh says: “I work with Sheffield Young Carers and they saved my life!! If you need any support please look on their website.”

Two recent competition wins go to 17-year-old Georgie Woodhead of Sheffield Young Writers. Georgie is one of the winners of the Newcastle Young Writers Prize 2020, and has been highly commended in the Prole Laureate Poetry Competition (which is generally an adult competition so this is quite something!). Georgie joins Naomi Thomas (Sheffield Young Writers), Lauren Hollingsworth Smith (Rotherham Young Writers) and Maia Brown (Doncaster Young Writers alumnus) at the Writing Squad this year.

We’re also pleased to have commissioned 11 pieces of non-fiction by writers aged 15-30 for HOME FRONT: Words From Lockdown. The first few are live here with more to follow posted over the next few weeks. There are some wonderfully insightful pieces to get your teeth into, from being a supermarket key worker to considering South Korea’s lockdown track and trace methods 

We’ve got some more uber big Hive young writer news coming very soon (that’s not quite announced yet) so look out for that! And now it is announced and it’s here! 

Meanwhile, we’ve got some great regional happenings for young writers (14-30) at the moment. Yorkshire-wide (and actually as far as North Derbyshire and North West Lincolnshire) we’ve got the Hive Young Writers Competition open until 23rd June. This was going to be a biennial competition, but due to lockdown, we wanted to bring it back early to support more young people to write. We know, sometimes resources, and a reason to write, can make a big difference in getting us focused! Find everything you need to know here:

And if you’re new to writing (that is, you’re not in a Hive group), and you live in or near Sheffield, there’s also the Hive New Writer Prize for 14-19s, as part of the Sheffield Year of Reading LOVE SHEFFIELD, LUV competition. Judge and Writer in Residence for the project, Nik Perring, will also be running some FREE online workshops to get you started. Keep an eye on our what’s on page here. We have one planned for this Wednesday 20th May. It’s FREE and you don’t need a webcam (Crowdcast is live video-led with a messenger type feed).

If you’re in South Yorkshire (or very near without provision in your area for young writers) we’re running our groups online. Get in touch if you’d like to join us. No experience needed, all levels welcome!

FREE online interactive creative writing workshop for 14-19s in Sheffield

Online interactive creative writing workshop [FREE!]
(for young people aged 14 to 19 from in or around Sheffield)
NEWS FLASH! Date change 27th May

14 to 19 from in or around Sheffield? Interested in creative writing and entering competitions but don’t know where to start?

If this sounds like you (and you don’t already participate in Hive network groups) then we’d LOVE to hear from you to get signed up to do a fab FREE online workshop with Sheffield Year of Reading Writer in Residence – Nik Perring. (And if for some reason you can’t make it would would love to be involved, get in touch too!)

No experience needed – you just need a tablet or computer with an internet connection and to virtually turn up and have fun! And just to say, it’s not a requirement of the workshop that participants need to be visible on video (or to use audio) on the Crowdcast platform.

Nik will also give you tip tops for entering Sheffield Year of Reading’s Love Sheffield, Luv competition’s Hive New Writer Prize for young writers 14-19, and Hive’s Yorkshire-wide competition (both open right now and with loads of brilliant prizes!) He’ll share expert tips and professional know-how from over fifteen years of judging and writing for competitions, and teaching young writers, showing you how to find your best ideas and turn them into competition-worthy stories and poems.

Nik is a great teacher and will make this a fun and stimulating session. Don’t worry about your level of experience, or how confident you feel, just come along to brush up on your writing skills and get inspired!

This is a FREE online, interactive workshop will for 14-19-year-olds living in and around Sheffield
NEWS FLASH! Date change 27th May 4 to 6pm on Crowdcast
Book via this Eventbrite link and also drop us a line at with your name, age, postcode, writing interests and anything else you want to let us know.
Note: for young people under 18, we will require parental concern.

In partnership with Sheffield Year of Reading

Minding How You Go

Home Front non-fiction commission

Non-fiction writing commissions during lockdown – menu here

Calling budding young writers, thinkers and fledgling journalists… We’re excited to introduce Home Front, a micro-commission writing opportunity for young people aged 15 to 30 in South Yorkshire. Home Front seeks interesting non-fiction articles and opinion pieces on any topic responding, directly or indirectly, to the current world we find ourselves in…or the one waiting on the other wide.

In just over a month, we’ve been catapulted into a parallel universe normally only familiar to us in the realm of fiction – but here we are, in the middle of something big and scary, but also affirming with so many stories of hope and kindness.

With this strange new reality comes all sorts of coping strategies and behaviours, stockpiling loo roll, spying on neighbours, discovering our inner bakers. But also, with collective time on our hands, in a way we’ve never had before, many of us have been doing a lot of thinking. It’s this thinking we’re after. Home Front seeks to give a platform to the thoughts and voices of young people living through this unsettling time.

All we need from you is a pitch (no more than 250 words) outlining what non-fiction subject you’d like to write about and how you might approach it. Don’t worry if your mind is boggling at narrowing down what that might be, or if you’re new to writing non-fiction. Read on!

Firstly, what do you get if your pitch is chosen?
We’ll receive advice and editorial guidance, a small fee (known when the number of commissions is decided) and, of course, publication. This is a great opportunity for CVs, and for those interested in making more of writing like this in the future. Plus, you’re bound to learn stuff along the way.

What we’re after@
We’re keen to hear a mix of perspectives, insights, inspirations, reflections, opinions, interesting bits of research, perhaps even a quote or two (it might even be from your grandad, or a group you feel isn’t normally heard). We’re not after formal essays with grade-focused conclusions, we’re looking for engaging reads that everyone can enjoy (or question!). We want your work to speak passionately and clearly on a subject that interests you, because if it interests you, it will interest others. It can be hard-hitting, funny, informative, thought-proving, advice-giving. You get the drift – anything goes!

Deadline for pitches: As soon as possible! We’ll only be commissioning a small number of pieces and we’ll be closing the window on midnight 28th April,  so don’t delay, get your pitch in as soon as you can.


  • A pitch no longer than 250 words (We recommend reading ‘How to pitch’ and ‘Subject Matter’ below before you write your pitch)
  • Send to: with your name, age, the town you live in and the subject line: ‘Home Front’
  • If you’re outside of South Yorkshire, but in the not too distance north and really want to pitch, go on then, we’d still love to heard from you.

How to pitch

Your article pitch should be no longer than 250 words showing us what you’d like to write about and how you’ll approach it. These micro-commissions are limited so we’re looking to see real and interesting engagement in subjects. Think about some of the below and lace what is relevant into your pitch (don’t worry if you don’t hit all the points)…

  • Zoom into your subject interest – don’t try tackling everything under one subject – what’s your angle, interest, purpose for writing? A fresh, creative perspective on a known topic is always good, but think about whether you’re looking to give a balanced view, or if your piece is all out opinion. Is there an overriding question you want to explore?
  • What kinds of things might people get from reading your piece, e.g. informed humour, little known facts, a personal insight?
  • Stick to the basics and keep any summaries brief. We are after the gist and a sense of the shape you might go with it. Mention a few points you’ll make in the body of your article.
  • You might also want to think about the form you’ll write in if you plan to take a more creative approach. You could, for example, do a top ten piece, a speech, or an open letter.
  • Consider research. Might there be facts, stats or studies to reinforce your ideas. You might want to mention this at pitch stage or even name some of your info sources.
  • If you can think of a great title or intro grabber, include it.

Subject Matter
We’re open to any subject, whether it directly relates to our current world situation, or it has come out of thinking at this time.

Here are some example ideas which you’d be welcome to work with, but really, the call is completely open. Remember, your idea doesn’t have to relate directly to the current pandemic. As long as you can make a small link, we’d like to hear them!

  • Advice on how to cope during lockdown; your own experiences of social distancing; how your community has reacted, difficulties faced by a particular group
  • Testing times always bring change. But for the better or the worse? Some believe the pandemic will lead to a better society and future. Others fear it may make existing injustices worse. Maybe you’d like to tell us what you’d like to see in a post-Covid world or solutions you see for a better one.
  • The Great Depression and the second world war brought about the modern welfare state. What good could come from the Covid pandemic, or what suggestions do you want to see? Any parallels you know from other historical events we can learn from? This might be a good angle for the history buffs out there.
  • After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, surveillance culture exploded. Can you see any other necessary, or unnecessary controls coming in a post-Covid world?
  • Whenever crisis messes with the systems we live by, their reality is laid bare. Who are the haves and have-nots? What really matters, and what doesn’t? What infrastructures do we rely on that we don’t normally notice? What realisations have we made?
  • Gratitude – many of us have a new appreciation for what we have. What’s your take on this and what does it bring?
  • Large swathes of people worldwide are working in collaboration to stay in, save lives, and in the case of Britain, protect the NHS. What does collaboration mean and remind us of?
  • Mental health in Lockdown. How to cope with worry, catastrophising and spiralling thoughts.

Photo: Fabio Barbato | Isolation

Hive Young Writers Competition 2020

Our groups are online!

Hello! Just a quick note to say… we are running our regular group creative writing sessions online for the time being. If you’re a young person, 14 to 30 in South Yorkshire, we have a number of sessions happening for different ages and areas. Just get in touch with your name, age, where you’re based and your writing interests. Don’t worry about your level of writing. All welcome!

We use Crowdcast which is live video from the writer leading, and you interact via a messenger feed (so there is no need to be on video, although it is possible to be invited on 🙂

Interested? Email us! 

A message of support

Hello to all of our members, to everyone who’s been involved with us over the years, and to new people who might have found us after looking for something to do. We want to wish everyone wellness, calmness, and safety right now.

Although our usual Hive activities are on hold, we are currently looking at exciting ways we can take what we do online. We’re testing out Zoom and other ways of delivering workshops so sessions for our regular groups won’t be missed entirely, and we have a few competitions in the pipeline – here’s one, hot off the press, Love Sheffield’s Hive New Writer Prize (in partnership with Sheffield Libraries), and there’s a Yorkshire-wide one coming soon with some fab judges. We also have other ideas we’re hoping to make happen. Follow us on socials to stay in the loop. We’ll also repost other wider support, resources and opportunities as we see them.

For those of you who’ve been thinking about giving writing a go, or those who might have been toying with writing a novel or editing poetry for a competition or collection, now is a good time to get that underway. If you’re aged 14 to 30 in South Yorkshire or nearby and interested in writing, do get in touch. We are a tiny team (unlike in this fab photo!) but we will help however we can:

At some point, the world will go back to normal (likely a new normal and hopefully a better and kinder one where we’ve had some time to reflect and we appreciate what we have more than ever).

Stay safe,  stay your lovely, creative selves and look out for writing happenings 🙂

Hive x

Photo title: Staff at Work. Typists. Head Office typists room, 3rd Floor, Wellington Station. October 1959. Wellington.
Photographer: Le Cren.
Archival Reference: AAVK W3493 B Series_B6561
Transferred to Archives New Zealand from the New Zealand Railways Corporation.