Rotherham poet “transfigures the ordinary with wit and self-awareness”


Lauren Hollingsworth-Smith has been named as one of the top new poets in the country.

The Wath Academy student is one of four winners of the 2020 New Poets Prize, a competition organised by The Poetry Business, a publisher and writer development agency with a strong reputation for discovering, developing and publishing outstanding new poets.

The 18-year-old was picked out for praise for her collection, Ugly Bird, by Luke Kennard, who is himself an award-winning poet and novelist, and a lecturer at the University of Birmingham.

Luke said: “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.”

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Lauren is a member of Hive South Yorkshire and the Writing Squad. She has been published in two Hive anthologies, was a Foyle Young Poet of the Year in 2019 and highly commended in the Young Northern Writers Award in the same year.

Lauren said: “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 volunteers at the children’s literary charity, Grimm and Co, and will be reading English and French at Oxford University in October.

Images: The Poetry Business


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