News / melita hume

  • One Of Our Hume Shortlisted Poets On The Catalonia Independence Referendum


    A list of things that (1) have changed during the Catalonia Independence referendum weeks, followed by a list of things that (2) have not changed


    (1) Things that have changed


    (i) The use of objects associated with domesticity and private property + (ii) what 10 pm sounds like


    Cacerola means stew pot. At 10pm every night leading up to the referendum on October 1 people took their stew pots and banged them with metal spoons. First you would hear a few clangs then the clatter spread. It lasted for around half an hour. It was louder than the cazeloras on Aurora street weeks after the police murdered prominent member of the gay community Juan Andrés Benítez in 2013. It was louder than the cacerola that members of the sex workers union would organize on Robadors street every Wednesday between 2013 – 2014 to protest police harassment and gentrification of the Raval area in the centre of the city.

    On the day of the referendum, people gathered across the city and region to celebrate the vote. If you didn’t have a stew pot with you in the street you could use your keys. We were in plaza Cataluña when thousands of people took their keys out and jangled them in the air. We jangled our keys too.


    (iii) Who was at the frontline


    During the referendum, Spanish police forces – the Guardia Civil – rampaged, broke fingers, sexually assaulted, smashed glass and beat women and the elderly. The brutality of the police was matched by the cunning of the Catalan people performing minor acts of civil disobedience. In Sant Mori the 176 inhabitants sat around eating paella while dozens of Spanish Guardia Civil police surrounded the school where they believed the villagers were going to vote. Sant Mori had already voted at 6am. They offered plates of paella to the police. In Campins near Montseny people cut down trees to stop the passage of riot vans and the Guardia Civil were forced to climb a steep forested hill, where they got lost and were rescued by the people of Campins. In another town, the police broke into a school where they found huge crowds of people playing dominos. “What vote?”, the people asked the police.

    It was shocking for many to see bodies exposed to police brutality that might otherwise experience exemption due to the privileges afforded by whiteness and class. And for those who have been attacked by both the Catalan police force – the Mossos d'Esquadra – and the Spanish Guardia Civil there was hope that in the visibility of police violence that this referendum has afforded, new alliances may de forged.


    (2) Things that have not changed


    (i) The volume of nationalisms


    The hope that this referendum may produce new alliances dipped during a Catalonia wide strike on Tuesday 3 October, when critique of police brutality was drowned out by the noise of the Catalan flags draping the shoulders of the property owning classes. Teenagers sang hymns to the local police forces. According to the emerging narrative, the Mossos d'Esquadra are peaceful, heroic, nice etc. in comparison to the brutal Spanish Guardia Civil.

    On Sunday 8 October 400,000 people arrived to march in Barcelona against the referendum. Spanish flags filled the streets where Catalan flags had. A day later a Madrid politician Pablo Casado threatened to assassinate a Catalan politician in a chilling speech that made reference to the assassination of the Leader of the Republican Left Lluís Campanys in 1940, a case which was foundational in the establishment of the Franco Dictatorship (1939-1975).  

    Independence was declared officially in the Catalan parliament on Tuesday 10 October by Puigdemont and then suspended in the next breath. With politicians seeking to make plans concrete, comparisons are now being drawn with Slovenia, whose independence from Yugoslavia was announced in 1989 then suspended and proceeded to unfold over a year that included a 10 day armed conflict that resulted in increased international support for Slovenia. While the suspension of Catalan Independence by leader Puigdemont disappointed many, it is possible that the comparisons with Slovenia mean the suspension may itself be tactical, and will allow Puigdemont to use the time to gain more international support. It is also possible that the right wing politician was always using the promise of independence as a tool in party politics. The fact that conservative right wing Slovenian politician Dimitrij Rupel currently advises the process as the head of the group of international observers in Catalonia is another clue to voters that the state they are willing into being is far from the anti-fascist, socialist utopia it is being sold as.

    On Monday 9 October activist and academic Angela Davis visited Barcelona and spoke on the value of considering “resistance” over “revolution”. In a shocking example of historical amnesia, the Catalan cultural critic introducing Davis to a packed auditorium compared the Catalan Independence struggle to Black and African American resistance movements in the United States. Davis responded at the end of her speech, it depends what kind of independence you want, I think you still have a lot of difficult questions to ask.

    For many, the strike on Tuesday 3 October was a day to remember and celebrate the lives of people wrongly accused, beaten up and murdered by police in Cataluña. Mohamed Abagui who was 22 in 2010, Jonathan Syzalima who was 20 in 2009 and Idrissa Diallo who was 21 in 2012, who all died in police custody. The poet Patricia Heras, whose wrongful arrest and conviction for harming a police officer led to a 5 year sentence and her suicide in 2011.

    Bandera means flag. I slip between bandera and band. Flags and bands. Banda means gang or brass band. Bandera means flag. I mean music band. Or pop group. Nationalisms and noise and gangs.

    Rebecca Close was born in London and is an artist, researcher, poet and translator based between London and Barcelona. She studied Philosophy at Manchester University and has a Master’s Degree in Spanish Philology. Her forthcoming new media publication Reinscriptions, co-produced with Anyely Marín, won the Miquel Casablancas Prize for Visual Arts (2017). Her poems have appeared recently in datableedzine, Ambit, Magma and Lemony Lemons.




    This year’s shortlist of 12 eligible poets is likely more diverse than ever in the prize’s six-year history. Past winners have been chosen by leading UK poets, such as Tim Dooley, Emily Berry, and Mark Ford – and last year’s co-winner, Maria Apichella, was a Forward-nominee this year for Psalmody. The £1,500 prize is open to any young poet with a debut collection, 35 years or under at time of entry, who either is resident in the UK or Ireland, or a citizen of either place. This allows for a very open field.

    This year’s judge Vahni Capildeo, a prize-winning leading poet, will have her work cut out for her. There are poets from across the UK, Ireland and Northern Ireland, as well as two poets hailing from South Africa. Showcasing the internationalism of poetry in these isles, some of the shortlisted poets live at least part-time in Mumbai, Barcelona and Hong Kong. And all styles and forms of poetry are represented, from avant-garde, to mainstream, to spoken word and performance. 

    The 12 debut poets are:

    Alex Howard is 29 and lives in Scotland. Alex attended the University of Edinburgh where he graduated with a first in English Literature. Since then, he has gone on to publish poetry and prose widely earning several prizes and awards. His debut novel Library Cat won the Beryl Bainbridge Best First Time Author Award (2017) and has been translated into Italian and Korean, while his poetry has earned him a place as a quarterfinalist in the Scottish Slam Championships, a reading slot at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, and the Red Cross International Writing Prize. He is currently completing an AHRC funded PhD at the University of Edinburgh where he teaches.


    Caitlin Stobie was born in 1993 in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. She is currently reading for her PhD at the University of Leeds and is co-editor of EPIZOOTICS!  - and her poems and short stories have been published internationally in journals including Poetry & Audience, Zoomorphic, Flash, The Stockholm Review of Literature, The Kalahari Review, and New Contrast. In 2016 an earlier version of her unpublished debut collection was shortlisted for the RædLeaf International Poetry Award.


    Carina Hart was born in Norfolk in 1987. She studied English Literature at Cambridge, York and UEA, where she completed her PhD in 2012. She has published poetry in InPrint, The Cadaverine and The Apple Anthology, and was also shortlisted for the Melita Hume Poetry Prize in 2013. In 2017 she has been highly commended in the Aurora Competition for short fiction, and is shortlisted for the Overton Poetry Prize. Carina works as a lecturer in English Literature at the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus, and lives in Nottingham and Malaysia.


    Christian Wethered was educated at Trinity College, Dublin and the University of Bristol. He has been published both in Ireland and the UK. His work has featured in the anthologies In the Cinnamon Corners 2017 and the Aesthetica Creative Works Anthology. He was third-placed in the 2016 Café Writers Competition (judged by Andrew McMillan), and recently selected for the 2017 Poetry Ireland Introductions Series. He lives in Dublin.


    Eloise Stevens was born in London, in 1988, and is currently based between Mumbai and London. She holds a degree in French and Portuguese literature from Oxford University. She has performed at The Cuckoo Club, Kala Ghoda Arts Festival, in Mumbai, the Edinburgh Fringe, the Poetry Café, London, and is a Farrago slam champion.  She is currently working on a performance of her collection, The Beat of Beast, which was shortlisted for The (Great) Indian Poetry Collective prize. 


    Geraldine O’Kane poet, creative writing facilitator, arts administrator and mental health advocate, was born September 19th, 1981 and was brought up in the village of Ardboe on the shores of Lough Neagh, Northern Ireland. She attended St. Joseph's Grammar School Donaghmore, and went on to study English and History at the University of Ulster. She currently lives and works in Belfast. Geraldine is one half of Poetry NI. In October 2015 she gave a TED Talk for TEDx Belfast on poetry and mental health and read at the Poems Upstairs Series in association with Poetry Ireland Feb’ 2016. She is a recipient of the Artist Career Enhancement Scheme (ACES) 2015/16 grant from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. 


    Jacqueline Thompson is from Arbroath on the East Coast of Scotland. She has an MLitt in Creative Writing from The University of Dundee and a PhD from The University of Edinburgh. Her poems have appeared in New Writing Scotland, Gutter, Poetry Ireland Review and The Scotsman. She has been shortlisted for the Grierson Verse Prize, the Westport Arts Festival Poetry Prize and the Jane Martin Poetry Prize, and she won the Neil Gunn Writing Competition in 2017. She currently works as a writer in Edinburgh. 


    Jason Eng Hun Lee is a poet of mixed British and Chinese ancestry. He has been published in EnvoiAcumen, Quarterly Literary Review Singapore, Cha: An Asian Literary Journal. He has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and his first collection Beds in the East was a finalist for the Hong Kong University Prize (2010). He is an occasional guest editor/judge/reviewer for Cha: An Asian Literary Journal and regular contributor to the Hong Kong literary scene. He has a PhD in English Literature and currently lectures at Hong Kong Baptist University. 


    Mariah Whelan was born in Oxford in 1986. She studied English at Queen’s University, Belfast before completing an MSt in Creative Writing at Oxford University. She has lived in Japan and Spain and is currently based in the Centre for New Writing at The University of Manchester where she was awarded a scholarship to write poems and research trauma in contemporary Irish fiction. She was awarded a distinction for her master’s thesis, a novel-in-sonnets titled City of Rivers, which won the AM Heath Prize and individual poems were shortlisted for The Bridport Prize. 


    Rebecca Close was born in London and is an artist, researcher, poet and translator based between London and Barcelona. She studied Philosophy at Manchester University and has a Master’s Degree in Spanish Philology. Her forthcoming new media publication Reinscriptions, co-produced with Anyely Marín, won the Miquel Casablancas Prize for Visual Arts (2017). Her poems have appeared recently in datableedzine, Ambit, Magma and Lemony Lemons.


    Rhiannon Williams was born in Islington in 1992. She grew up in London and subsequently in Cyprus, where she lived for eight years before returning to the UK and studying for a BA in English Literature at the University of Exeter. She has had poetry featured on The Island Review, and is currently studying for an MA in Narrative Environments at Central Saint Martins in London. 


    Thembe Mvula is a twenty-three-year-old poet and spoken word performer born in Grahamstown, South Africa. She has lived in the UK, in Gloucester, for almost fourteen years and is currently based in London, where she works part time in community engagement whilst being a freelance poet. Thembe graduated with a BA in Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies at the University of Kent in 2016. Writing from the age 12, Thembe had her first poem published in a Young Writers Anthology at age 15. Since then, she has mainly shared her poetry on the stage, featuring across platforms such as The Roundhouse, Jawdance and TEDx.

  • Eyewear's Submission Opportunities for 2017

    January 6—LONDON 

    Eyewear Publishing LTD is pleased to announce its 2017 submission opportunities for poets and writers. For full guidelines, codes of ethics, and further information, visit or Eyewear's Submittable page.

    The Sexton Prize

    The Sexton Prize is an annual publication award with a $1,000 honorarium for an outstanding new collection of poetry by an American poet at any career stage. The winning manuscript is published, distributed, and marketed by Eyewear Publishing LTD in both the United States and the United Kingdom simultaneously. The previous winner of The Sexton Prize (2016) - SELECTED BY Final Judge DON SHARE-  is Rebecca Gayle Howell for American Purgatory

    The final judge for the 2017 Sexton Prize is PROFESSOR KIMIKO HAHN.

    Kimiko Hahn is the author of nine books of poems, including: Brain Fever (W.W. Norton, 2014) and Toxic Flora (WWN, 2010), both collections inspired by science; The Narrow Road to the Interior (WWN, 2006) a collection that takes its title from Basho’s famous poetic journal; The Unbearable Heart (Kaya, 1996), which received an American Book Award; Earshot (Hanging Loose Press, 1992), which was awarded the Theodore Roethke Memorial Poetry Prize and an Association of Asian American Studies Literature Award. Hahn takes pleasure in the challenges of collaboration, most recently with Lauren Henkin’s photographic series. Honors include a Guggenheim Fellowship, PEN/Voelcker Award, Shelley Memorial Prize, a Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Writers' Award as well as fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts. She is a distinguished professor in the MFA Program in Creative Writing & Literary Translation at Queens College, The City University of New York.

    photo credit: Beowulf Sheehan

    The fee to submit to The Sexton Prize is $25.


    The Melita Hume Poetry Prize

    The Melita Hume Poetry Prize is an annual poetry publication award with a £1,000 honorarium for an original, first full-length collection by a poet under 35 years of age, resident in the UK or Ireland, writing in the English language. Previous years’ winners include Caleb Klaces for Bottled Air, Marion McCready for Tree Language, Amy Blakemore for Humbert Summer, Maria Apichella for Psalmody, Tony Chan for Four Points Fourteen Lines, and Jenna Clake for Fortune Cookie.

    The final judge for the 2017 Melita Hume Poetry Prize is Vahni Capildeo.


    Vahni Capildeo is a British Trinidadian writer. Her published books are No Traveller Returns, Person Animal Figure, Undraining Sea (shortlisted for the Guyana Prize for Literature Caribbean Award), All Your Houses (a limited-edition artist’s book with photometry by Andre Bagoo), Dark & Unaccustomed Words (longlisted for the 2013 OCM Bocas Poetry Prize), Utter, Simple Complex Shapes, and Measures of Expatriation (winner of the Forward Best Collection Prize). She read English at Christ Church, Oxford and subsequently became a Rhodes Scholar there, completing a DPhil in Old Norse and translation theory, which overlapped with her Research Fellowship at Girton College, Cambridge. She was the first poet on tour for the Out of Bounds poetry project, is a contributing editor for the Caribbean Review of Books, and a contributing advisor to Blackbox Manifold.

    The fee to submit to the Melita Hume Poetry Prize is £20.00


    The Best New British and Irish Poets 2018

    The Best New British and Irish Poets competition collects fifty poems from the fifty best new poets writing in the English language in the UK and Ireland. The final fifty poems will be published in The Best New British and Irish Poets in spring of 2018. 

    Submissions open 2 April and close 15 September. 

    The judge for the 2018 Best New British and Irish Poets competition is Maggie Smith.


    Maggie Smith is the author of the forthcoming Weep Up, The Well Speaks of Its Own Poison, Lamp of the Body, and three prizewinning pamphlets. Her poems have appeared in The Paris Review, The Southern Review, Magma, Waxwing, Virginia Quarterly Review, Guernica, and many other journals. The recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ohio Arts Council, and the Sustainable Arts Foundation, Smith is a freelance writer and editor, and she serves as a consulting editor to the Kenyon Review. Her poem ‘Good Bones’ was a global phenomenon in 2016.

    The fee to submit to The Best New British and Irish Poets is £10.00


    The Beverly Series

    Original, previously unpublished manuscripts of any genre, written in the English language, that are ineligible for submission to the Hume and Sexton Prizes are welcomed for consideration in The Beverly Series. The series acknowledges an outstanding work of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, or criticism by an author of any nationality and any career stage. The work of one or more authors will be selected from open readings in the 2017 series. Eyewear Publishing LTD will announce its selection in the first week of January, 2018. The previous winner of The Beverly Series is Sohini Basak for We Live in the Newness of Small Differences.

    Submissions remain open until 15 September, 2017. 

    The final judge for the 2017 Beverly Series is Todd Swift, Director of Eyewear Publishing LTD. 

    Dr Todd Swift is a British-Canadian expert on modern and contemporary poetry, and has been editing poetry collections for over 20 years. He has been a university teacher working with BA, MA and PhD students, in Budapest, London, and Glasgow. He is the editor or co-editor of numerous global anthologies, including Carcanet’s Modern Canadian Poets. He is author of nine full collections of poetry, including Seaway: New & Selected Poems, from Salmon, Ireland. His Selected Poems was published in 2014 by Marick Press, USA. His poems have appeared in many leading journals in America, Australia, Britain, Canada and Ireland. He was Oxfam GB’s poet-in-residence, based in Marylebone, 2004-2012. He will be Visiting Scholar/Writer-in-Residence, Pembroke College, University of Cambridge, England, 2017-18.

    The fee to submit to the Beverly Series is £20.00


    The Lorgnette Pamphlet Series

    Building on the success of Eyewear's 2015 Michael Marks Publishers’ Award-shortlisted 20/20 Pamphlet series, and our 2016 Aviator Pamphlet series, we are pleased to announce our 2017 Lorgnette Pamphlet Series, selected and edited by Todd Swift. Eyewear will select and publish 20 limited-edition pamphlets from this open reading period. All poets working in the English language are welcome to submit original, previously unpublished pamphlets for consideration.


    The fee to submit to The Lorgnette Pamphlet Series is £20.00.

  • Jenna Clake’s FORTUNE COOKIE Wins the 2016 Melita Hume Prize for Poetry

    30 November--LONDON

    Eyewear Publishing LTD is pleased to announce that Jenna Clake is the 2016 winner of the £1,500 Melita Hume Prize--the UK's largest monetary prize for a debut collection--for her book Fortune Cookie.

    ‘I am thrilled to have won the Melita Hume Prize, and look forward to releasing my first collection,’ says Clake. ‘This is something I have been working towards for the past few years, and I am incredibly grateful to Eyewear for the opportunity.’

    Clake is studying for a PhD in Creative Writing at the University of Birmingham. Her research focuses on the feminine and feminist Absurd in twenty-first century British and American poetry. She is also the Poetry and Arts Editor for the Birmingham Journal of Literature and Language. Clarke's work appears in Poems in Which, The Bohemyth, Queen Mob’s Teahouse, and more. 

    The final judge, Professor Mark Ford, editor of the American edition of John Ashbery's collected poems and Faber poet, selected Fortune Cookie from this year’s exceptionally strong shortlist of ten. Ford had this to say about the finalists and the winner:

    'All of the ten submitted manuscripts that made it onto the short list for this year’s Melita Hume Poetry Prize contained excellent poems, and I would not be at all surprised if all ten of the poets selected went on to develop original and interesting poetic careers. I was struck by the variety of the idioms put to use by these manuscripts, and by the different conceptions of poetry implicit in their styles and choice of subject matter. It is perhaps a cliché to say that the most distinctive feature of the contemporary poetry scene is its diversity – we don’t live ‘in the age’ of anyone in particular, as the Victorians, say, lived in the age of Tennyson. Therefore a judge of a poetry competition such as this has to tune in to the kind of poetry that is being developed in a given manuscript, and then come to a decision about how successfully the poet is deploying the techniques made available by the mode selected. Personal taste also, inevitably, comes into it: a different judge might well have picked a different winner.

    I was also conscious that the winning manuscript would be published as a book. It is not easy for poets putting together a first collection to get a sense of how a volume should be arranged so as to hold a reader’s interest, and if I had a general tip for these poets it would be to study how, say, Philip Larkin arranged the poems in The Less Deceived and The Whitsun Weddings. A number of the manuscripts submitted seemed to me simply too long, to offer too many poems in the same vein. Certainly poets need to develop a distinctive style, but a collection has to be various and surprising, and to present poetry in a range of different registers.

    After much agonizing I selected Jenna Clake’s collection, aptly entitled Fortune Cookie. I found the poems in this manuscript a delight to read: funny, moving, unpredictable, sure-footed, elegant, lively. They reminded me of the work of the great American poet James Tate, who died a couple of years ago. Many offer deadpan accounts of wacky or off-kilter situations, or present mini-narratives that are almost parables, but not quite. Reading each one was indeed a bit like opening a fortune cookie, and finding a motto inside that was at once intriguing and entertaining, bleak and hilarious. I much look forward to seeing this collection in print.'

    Eyewear will release Fortune Cookie in autumn of 2017. Reviewers who wish to reserve an advance review copy should email the editors at

    The entry period for the 2017 Melita Hume Prize will open in January. The final judge will be Forward-winning poet Vahni Capildeo.