Sarah Wimbush - Mslexia/PBS Women's Poetry Pamphlet Competition 2019 winner

Sarah Wimbush, Bloodlines

It was a complete shock to hear that I’d won the Mslexia Pamphlet Competition! This particular group of poems is something I’ve been working on for years; each poem drawn from fragments of my own heritage, so it’s incredibly rewarding to have them judged as ‘good enough’ by Amy Wack, and thrilling to have them sent out into the world by Seren who have published some of my favourite poets.

One thing I’d not considered when I entered the competition: what image would I use on the cover of Bloodlines? But Seren quickly transformed a gorgeous piece of mixed-media artwork by Rebecca Morris into a front cover, hopefully reflecting the colour and wonder of the poems inside. Most of all, I’m grateful to Mslexia for giving me the opportunity to bring my poems to life on the page. Where would emerging writers be without such ambassadors!

SARAH WIMBUSH is 54 and was recently awarded a Northern Writers’ Award. She is a previous winner of the Mslexia Poetry Competition and won second prize in the last Ledbury Poetry Competition. 


What did the judge say?

These poems are full of lively slang, near riotous episodes of family drama and a keen sense of the precarious nature of Travellers’ lives. I fell in love with the gusto, the sheer gritty texture of these poems, with their harsh monosyllables and ruthless wit. They are composed with an adroit technique, formal skill, a Chaucerian sense of exuberant action. I was also often surprised by the inventive vocabulary, a Gypsy patois that renders their often tempestuous experiences in vivid colour. This makes for entertainingly original, moving work, beautifully imagined and executed. Bravo!

Amy Wack, Poetry Editor, Seren Books


Congratulations to the other highly commended entries

Rachel Bower, Mothers of Gods
Rosamund Taylor, We Lose Our Edges
Sarah Mnatzaganian, Bogle
Heidi Beck, The Listening Project
Nicola Bray, Boi

Yay! Little Ms Day has arrived. Can't think of a better way to procrastinate.
Beatrice Charles