The Ginkgo Prize for Ecopoetry is a major international award for poems embracing ecological themes.

The Prize aims to highlight the role poetry can play in raising awareness, gaining insight, and provoking concern for the ecological imperatives of our time.

First prize is £5,000, second prize is £2,000, and third prize is £1,000.

The judges are the iconic Mexican writer, activist and ambassador Homero Aridjis and the TS Eliot Award-winning poet Jen Hadfield.

For the first time this year, we are launching a separate prize focused on a theme or challenge encountered by environmental campaigners in their everyday work. This year’s theme is Environmental Defenders, with a £500 prize for the poem that best engages with the many threats faced by activists and communities, as they protect their families, livelihoods and planet from schemes that cause devastating environmental damage. This prize is in association with Global Witness, who have catalogued the closing of political space for civil society action in their Environmental Activists campaign

The winner of the Ginkgo Prize and the winner of the Environmental Defenders Prize will be awarded week-long residencies at the Cambridge Writing Retreat.

The winners’ ceremony will be held on the evening of 21 November 2019 at Swedenborg House, Bloomsbury, London.

Alongside the Prize, we will be publishing a series of essays by leading ecological writers including Homero Aridjis, Srishti Krishnamoorthy-Cavell, Isabel Galleymore, Anna Selby and others, and running free ecopoetry workshops around the UK with poets such as Dom Bury, Isabel Galleymore, Richard Georges, Seán Hewitt, Daisy Lafarge and Karen McCarthy Woolf.

The Ginkgo Prize is kindly sponsored by Loowatt and funded by the Edward Goldsmith Foundation. The prize is organised by the Poetry School.

Enter the Ginkgo Prize

Our Judges

Homero Aridjis
Homero Aridjis

Homero Aridjis was born in Contepec, Michoacán to a Greek father and a Mexican mother. After nearly losing his life at age ten in a shotgun accident, Aridjis became an avid reader and began to write poetry. Many of his 50 books of poetry and prose have been translated into fifteen languages.

Among literary and environmental prizes he has received are the Xavier Villaurrutia and Diana-Novedades (Mexico), the Roger Caillois (France), the Grinzane-Cavour, Premio Internazionale di Poesia Camaiore and Premio Internazionale di Poesía Elena Violani Landi (Italy), Golden Key of Smederevo (Serbia), the Orion Society’s John Hay Award and two Guggenheim Fellowships. Aridjis has been a visiting professor at Indiana University, New York University, Columbia University and the University of California, Irvine.

Formerly Mexico’s ambassador to The Netherlands, Switzerland and UNESCO, he was president of PEN International between 1997-2003. Aridjis is the founder and president of the Group of 100 (writers, artists and scientists devoted to protection of the environment). His most recent books in English translation are The Child Poet, News of the Earth, Maria the Monarch and A Time of Angels.

Jen Hadfield
Jen Hadfield

Jen Hadfield is a poet published by Picador. Her second poetry collection, Nigh-No-Place (Bloodaxe), a Poetry Book Society Recommendation, was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Collection, and won the 2008 T.S.Eliot Prize.

She has also received a Dewar Award to produce a solo exhibition of Shetland ex-votos in the style of sacred Mexican folk art, incorporating rubrics of very short fiction, and won the Edwin Morgan Poetry Competition in 2012.

Her third collection, Byssus, was published by Picador in 2014.

At the moment she is working on a fourth collection, provisionally titled The Stone Age, exploring neurodiversity, and a collection of essays. Jen is a Creative Writing Teaching Fellow at Glasgow University and was the Charles Causley resident in Autumn 2018.

She is building a house in Shetland, very slowly.

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2018 Ginkgo Prize Ecopoetry Anthology

The 2018 Ginkgo Prize anthology contains all the winning and highly commended poems from the 2018 awards, with forewords from prize patron Dido Whitehead and 2018 judges Mimi Khalvati and Alys Fowler. The winning poets were Jemma Borg, Teresa Dzieglewicz, and Linda France, with runners-up Ella Duffy and Julian Bishop. Click to download.