The Hippocrates Prize – 5000 pounds for a medical-themed poem

By Grant Jacobs 01/12/2010

The second year of the Hippocrates Prize for Poetry and Medicine is calling for entrants.


There are two competitions, one open to entries internationally, the other to ’current or former UK NHS-related staff and UK health students’. In each competition £5000 is awarded to the winner, £1000 to the second-place getter and £500 for third. In addition, there are 20 commendations, who will earn for themselves £50 each.

Last year’s inaugural competition open section was won by New Zealander, CK Stead, also the winner of the inaugural Sunday Times EPG Private Bank Short Story Prize (£25,000). The winner of the NHS section was Wendy French.

CK Stead has apparently retired. Part of me wonders if he is working harder and ’earning’ (well, winning) more than he did before retirement. Certainly he is doing very well for himself.

Good luck to those who enter. According to the publicity material, last year’s international (open section) prize saw over 1,600 entries from 31 countries.

This year’s judges are Wales’ first national poet, Gwyneth Lewis, and Professor Steve Field CBE, formerly the Chairman of the Council of the Royal College of General Practitioners.

Advice is that the term ‘medical’ can be interpreted in the widest sense, and younger applicants are encouraged–don’t think this is only for old hands like Stead!

C’mon, let’s see a New Zealander win this again!


My thanks to Professor Donald Singer, University of Warwick, for bringing this competition to my attention.

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