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Announcing the World’s Largest International Prize for a Single Book of Poetry

The Griffin Poetry Prize is one of the world’s most generous poetry awards. In celebration of the Prize’s two-decade anniversary it is announcing its largest award to date, combining the existing International and Canadian prizes into one major prize. The prize will be worth C$130,000 (c.£85,000) (c.US$100,000) (c.€99,000), making it the world’s largest international prize for a single book of poetry written in, or translated into English. The other shortlisted poets will each receive C$10,000.

Additionally, a new C$10,000 prize will be awarded for a Canadian First Book of poetry, along with a six-week residency in Italy in partnership with the Civitella Ranieri Foundation to a Canadian Citizen, or permanent resident, for a first book written in English. 

The Lifetime Recognition Award will continue to be awarded by the trustees in the sum of C$25,000 bringing the total of the new prize fund to C$205,000.

The Griffin Poetry Prize has been acknowledging and encouraging poets for twenty-two years. At a time when censorship and attacks on a diverse array of writers are on the rise in many countries – including the United States – it’s heartening to see such a strong vote of confidence in poets coming from Canada. Poetry is not a minor art form; it is the crucible of human language.

Margaret Atwood, Founding Trustee

In the event a winning book is a translation into English, and to recognize the important and often underrepresented work of translators, the Griffin Poetry Prize will allocate 60% of the prize to the translator and 40% to the original poet. 

A longlist of 10 books will be announced in March 2023, and to coincide with National Poetry Month, a shortlist of 5 books will be announced in April, with the winners announced in Toronto on June 7, 2023. The winners, the shortlisted poets, and the Lifetime Recognition Award recipient will be invited to take part in the poetry readings at Koerner Hall in Toronto. The event will be ticketed and open to the public.

The new Griffin Poetry Prize is designed to emphasize the international nature of poetry, and the importance of translations, which speaks to all peoples and cultures around the world.

Scott Griffin

Announcing our 2023 Judges

The Griffin Poetry Prize is also pleased to announce its 2023 judges: Macedonian poet and translator Nikola Madzirov, Canadian poet Gregory Scofield, and former US poet laureate Natasha Trethewey.

The judges are chosen by the trustees whose current board comprises Mark Doty, Carolyn Forché, Sarah Howe, Paul Muldoon, Karen Solie, Aleš Šteger, and Ian Williams. 

2023 Judges

Nikola Madzirov

Nikola Madzirov (poet, essayist, translator) was born in 1973 in Strumica, R. Macedonia, in the family of war refugees from the Balkan Wars. When he was 18, the collapse of Yugoslavia prompted a shift in his sense of identity – as a writer reinventing himself in a country which felt new but was still nourished by deeply rooted historical traditions. His poems are translated into more than forty languages. For the book Relocated Stone (2007) was given the East European Hubert Burda poetry award and the most prestigious Macedonian poetry award Miladinov Brothers at Struga Poetry Evenings. Other recognitions include Studentski Zbor award for best poetry debut and Xu Zhimo Silver Leaf award for European poetry at King’s College, Cambridge in UK. American composers Oliver Lake, Michael League and Becca Stevens or Du Yun have composed music based on Madzirov’s poems. He was granted several international fellowships: International Writing Program (IWP) at University of Iowa; DAAD in Berlin; Marguerite Yourcenar in France or Civitella Ranieri in Italy. Nikola Madzirov is one of the coordinators of the international poetry network Lyrikline, based in Berlin. He edited the Macedonian edition of the Anthology of World’s Poetry: XX and XXI Century. His book in English Remnants of Another Age was published in USA by BOA Editions and in UK by Bloodaxe Books.

Gregory Scofield

Gregory Scofield is Métis of Cree, Scottish and European-Immigrant descent whose ancestry can be traced to the Métis community of Kinosota, Manitoba. He has taught Creative Writing and First Nations and Métis Literature at Laurentian University, Brandon University, Emily Carr University of Art + Design, and the Alberta University of the Arts. He currently holds the position of Associate professor in the Department of Writing at the University of Victoria. Scofield won the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize in 1994 for his debut collection, The Gathering: Stones for the Medicine Wheel, and has since published seven further volumes of poetry including, Witness, I am. He has served as writer-in-residence at the University of Manitoba, the University of Winnipeg, and Memorial University of Newfoundland. He is the recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal (2012), and most recently the Writers’ Trust of Canada Latner Poetry Prize (2016) that is awarded to a mid-career poet in recognition of a remarkable body of work. Further to writing and teaching, Scofield is also a skilled bead-worker, and he creates in the medium of traditional Métis arts. He continues to assemble a collection of mid to late 19th century Cree-Métis artifacts, which are used as learning and teaching pieces. Scofield’s first memoir Thunder Through My Veins (Doubleday Canada/Anchor Books)was re-published Fall 2019. 

Natasha Trethewey

Natasha Trethewey served two terms as the 19th Poet Laureate of the United States (2012-2014). She is the author of five collections of poetry, including Native Guard (2006)—for which she was awarded the 2007 Pulitzer Prize—and, most recently, Monument: Poems New and Selected (2018); a book of non-fiction, Beyond Katrina: A Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast (2010); and a memoir, Memorial Drive (2020) an instant New York Times Bestseller. She is the recipient of fellowships from the Academy of American Poets, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Beinecke Library at Yale, and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the American Philosophical Society. In 2017 she received the Heinz Award for Arts and Humanities. A Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets since 2019, Trethewey was awarded the 2020 Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt Prize in Poetry for Lifetime Achievement from the Library of Congress. In 2022 she was the William B. Hart Poet in Residence at the American Academy in Rome. Currently, she is Board of Trustees Professor of English at Northwestern University.

Notes to Editors

About the Griffin Poetry Prize

In 2000, businessman and philanthropist Scott Griffin founded the Griffin Poetry Prize to raise public awareness of the crucial role poetry plays in society’s cultural life. The Griffin Poetry Prize’s purpose is to introduce contemporary collections of poetry to the public’s imagination. Originally, the award was two annual prizes of C$40,000 each, for collections of poetry published in, or translated into, English during the preceding year. 

For over 21 years the Griffin Poetry Prize has been championing a diverse and eclectic range of Canadian and International poets giving them the recognition and global affirmation they deserve. The Prize is committed to encouraging the creation of original works of poetry and building international readership. Previous winners include Anne Carson, August Kleinzahler, Alice Oswald, Don Mee Choi’s translation of Kim Hyesoon’s Autobiography of Death, and Sarah Riggs’s translation of Etel Adnan’s Time.

“The Griffin Poetry Prize changed everything for me, all good, and in more ways than I could have imagined at the time. I am forever grateful to the Griffin Poetry Prize and its generosity.” ⎯August Kleinzahler, International Winner, 2004

Past recipients of the Lifetime Recognition Award are Robin Blaser (2006), Tomas Tranströmer (2007), Ko Un (2008), Hans Magnus Enzensberger (2009), Adrienne Rich (2010), Yves Bonnefoy (2011), Seamus Heaney (2012), Adélia Prado (2014), Derek Walcott (2015), Adam Zagajewski (2016), Frank Bidart (2017), Ana Blandiana (2018), Nicole Brossard (2019), and Yusef Komunyakaa (2021).

Media Inquiries

Canada: Melissa Shirley, Griffin Poetry Prize, publicity@griffinpoetryprize.com, Tel +1 647 389 9510 

UK: Tatti de Jersey, Atalanta.deJersey@fourcommunications.com ,Tel +44 (0) 7796571569, or Truda Spruyt,  truda.spruyt@fourcommunications.com, Tel +44 (0) 7740725206 

US : Poppy Hatrick, poppy@page1m.com, Tel +1 (858) 736-5991, or Sarah Russo, sarah@page1m.com, Tel +1 (917) 627-5993


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