New prize for budding young poets launched by Hippocrates Initiative

Next year will see the awarding of the inaugural Hippocrates Prize for Schools, celebrating youth poetry on the subject of all things medical.

The international award, for school students aged between 14 and 18, stems from the global success of the annual Hippocrates Prize which was launched by academics at the University of Warwick in 2009 to over four thousand entries from 44 nations, from Finland to Fiji.

Judge Clare Pollard, who published her first collection of poetry at the age of 19, said, “The great thing about poetry is that age doesn’t matter. It’s hard as a teenager to find the time and stamina to write a perfect novel, but you can write three perfect verses. If you put down the things you really want to say about our world, in your own voice, you will have written a powerful poem.”

She added, ’I’m very pleased to be judging the first Hippocrates Prize for Schools - in bringing science and art together. I hope it will deepen students’ understanding of both, and uncover poets of the future.’

Michael Hulse, of the University of Warwick’s English and Comparative Literary Studies department, said, “The term ‘medical’ can be interpreted in the widest sense. The field of medicine allows for a diverse range of poetic muses; from personal experience of illness, birth or death, to hospitals, ambulances and doctors’ surgeries, to the nature and history of medical instruments, processes and drugs.”

Professor of Therapeutics at the University of Warwick, Donald Singer, who founded the Hippocrates Initiative with Michael Hulse commented, “Many outstanding poets have started writing great work at a young age. Our aim is for the Hippocrates Prize for Schools to encourage aspiring young poets to consider medicine as a theme for their poetry.”

The Hippocrates Prize for Schools is supported by the UK medical charity the Fellowship of Postgraduate Medicine and the UK National Association of Writers in Education.