Prestigious Brotherton Poetry Prize awarded to writer Dillon Jaxx

A POET who once wrote in secret has been awarded a prestigious prize in the growing Leeds scene.

The Brotherton Poetry Prize for 2024, from the University of Leeds Poetry Centre, was awarded to Dillon Jaxx.

They had mostly written only in secret, they said, until they first took a poetry course in 2011 after undergoing cancer treatment.

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The competition is aimed at nurturing newcomers to industry, and was open to adults who have not yet published a full collection.

Dillon Jaxx and Professor Simon ArmitageDillon Jaxx and Professor Simon Armitage
Dillon Jaxx and Professor Simon Armitage

Jaxx, who is based in Sussex, paid tribute to a late friend and poet Kathryn Bevis as they accepted the recognition.

“Winning the prize feels like a milestone and I hope the awards ceremony has brought together a new community of poets who will stay in touch,” they said.

The panel of judges was made up of acclaimed poets including Professor of Poetry at Leeds, Poet Laureate Simon Armitage, and Prof John Whale, director of the Leeds Poetry Centre.

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Prof Whale said: “With more than 250 entries this year of a very high quality, it’s humbling and incredibly satisfying that so many people want to submit to this prize. It’s a huge responsibility for poets to judge other poets, and choosing a winner was difficult.

“This is an excellent developmental opportunity for the poets, who are delighted with the prospect of being recognised as they reach for their first full collections.”

Prof Armitage added: “Poetry on the 2D surface of the page can still do things that other forms of poetry can’t.

“The page is like a telepathic mediator between the poet and the reader, and the Brotherton Poetry Prize is designed to honour and promote that telepathy.”

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Earlier this year, the Government pledged £5m of funding for the new National Poetry Centre, to be based on the University of Leeds campus.

Although the registered charity is separate from the University, the Leeds Poetry Centre and School of English are already collaborating closely.

Candidates had submitted mini collections of up to five poems or 200 lines for the chance to win. Four runners up, along with the winner, will have their submissions published in the next edition of the Brotherton Poetry Prize Anthology.

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