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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