You Can't Win It If You Aren't In It

Encouragement from Stephanie Green, winner of the Alastair Reid Pamphlet Prize.

17 January 2024
You should get your work out there.

- Stephanie Green

Edinburgh-based Stephanie Green was overwhelmed when she was awarded the Alastair Reid Pamphlet Prize and was also shortlisted for the £1,500 Wigtown International Prize.

Stephanie, an accomplished poet and writer, originally from London, lived in Wales for 13 years then moved to Scotland in 2000. She began writing poetry in her 20s but it didn't become a serious pursuit until she was in her 40s.

Her Wigtown winner was a collection entitled Ortelius’ Sea Monsters, which came about after a trip to Iceland where she saw the remarkable late 16th-century map of the country by Abraham Ortelius – its seas filled with huge, bizarre and ferocious creatures. These became the basis of a collection that explores a multitude of nightmares and fears, delving deep into some of the darkest corners of human experience.

“I had always wanted to win one of the Wigtown Poetry Prizes – they are among the most prestigious in the UK and I have been entering my work ever since I came to live in Scotland.

“I really would encourage people to enter. After all, you can’t win it if you aren’t in it. Competitions are wonderful for your poetry. They force you to edit your work to within an inch of its life, and make it the very best it can be. So, whether you win or not, it’s very good for your work. I wasn’t sure I wanted to let loose my sea-monster poems on the world, they are so dark but these were what came out when I dug deep. It’s important to be true to oneself.

“And poetry is about communication. You should get your work out there.”

We're particularly keen to expand the entry pool for the Scots and Gaelic prizes this year. Literary expression in Scotland's indigenous languages is an invaluable contribution to our rich storytelling tradition.

Wigtown Poetry Prize Group Chair Nicholas Walker said: “The Wigtown Poetry Prizes are as much about nurturing poetry as about rewarding excellence. They are also here to provide a showcase for poetry in the three languages that are so much at the heart of Scottish history, culture and creativity.

“Each year we get hundreds of entries from Scotland, elsewhere in the UK and from every part of the world – including North and South America, Australia, China and Japan.

“This underlines how prestigious the prizes have become and the immense enthusiasm that exists for awards that encourage creative expression in all our indigenous languages.”

Each year the awards are given at a special event during the Wigtown Book Festival, which takes place this year from 27 September to 6 October in Scotland’s National Book Town.

Wigtown poetry prize logo featuring category titles;  International, Gaelic. Scots. Alastair Reid Pamphlet prize and Dumfries and Galloway Fresh Voice Award.