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Grants and Prizes

The Cholmondeley Awards for Poets

The Cholmondeley Awards for Poets were founded by the late Dowager Marchioness of Cholmondeley in 1966 to recognise the achievement and distinction of individual poets.

They are honorary awards and submissions are not accepted.

The recipients are chosen by the Awards Committee for their general body of work and contribution to poetry.

The 2009 Cholmondeley Awards

Winners: Bernard O’Donoghue, Alice Oswald, Fiona Sampson and Pauline Stainer – £1,500 each.

Bernard O’Donoghue was born in Cullen, Co Cork, where he still spends part of the year. Since 1965 he has lived in Oxford, where he is a Fellow in English at Wadham College. He is the author and editor of many critical works and has published six collections: Gunpowder won the Whitbread Prize for Poetry, The Weakness was awarded the Southern Arts Prize, and Here Nor There and Outliving were shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize. His Selected Poems came out in 2008 and his next collection is provisionally called Farmers Cross.

Alice Oswald lives in Dartington, Devon, and also works as a gardener on the Dartington Estate. She trained as a classicist and received an Eric Gregory Award in 1994. Her first collection of poetry, The Thing in the Gap-Stone Stile, was published in 1996 and that collection won a Forward Poetry Prize. She is the author of four further poetry collections: Dart, awarded the T.S. Eliot Prize in 2002, Woods etc., for which she received the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize in 2005 and her two most recent books, A Sleepwalker on the Severn and Weeds and Wild Flowers were both published this year.

Fiona Sampson was born in London and lives in Oxfordshire. After a first life as a concert violinist she took a PhD in philosophy of language at Nijmegan. She has published poetry, translation – specialising in the literature of Eastern Europe – and practical and critical books. She edits Poetry Review. She was shortlisted for the Forward Prize in 2006 and the T.S. Eliot Prize in 2007, and is currently at work on Rough Music and A Century of Poetry Review for Carcanet and Poetry Writing: The Expert Guide for Robert Hale.

Pauline Stainer was born in Stoke-on-Trent. After many years in rural Essex, and then on the Orkney island of Rousay, she now lives in Hadleigh, Suffolk. She is a freelance writer and tutor and has published seven collections of poetry: The Honeycomb, Sighting the Slave Ship, The Ice-Pilot Speaks, The Wound-dresser’s Dream, Parable Island, The Lady & the Hare and Crossing the Snowline. She is at work on a new collection.

Judges: Carol Ann Duffy, David Morley, Dennis O’Driscoll, Carole Satyamurti.

Past Winners