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2013 Hippocrates Prize - Short-list | 06-Apr-13

Where science collides with life: short-list for the 2013 Hippocrates Prize

A Harvard physician, a rising New Zealand Poet, a BBC Wildlife Poet of the Year from Bristol, and a recent Afghanistan veteran are finalists for this year's Open International Hippocrates Prize for Poetry and Medicine, at £5000 in both Open and NHS categories, one of the highest value poetry awards in the world for a single poem. Themes ranged from experience of a children's hospital, to effects of cancer on a friend, the emergency call, and humanity underlying traditional grand rounds.

Now in its fourth year, the short-listed entries for the 2013 Hippocrates Prize for Poetry and Medicine have been selected from over 1000 entries from 32 countries by judges distinguished poet Jo Shapcott, psychiatrist and medical writer Dr Theodore Dalrymple, and Roger Highfield, science writer and Director of External Affairs at the Science Museum Group .

Short-listed poets in the Open Category are American Literature expert Liam Corley from California, Harvard Physician and poet Rafael Campo, from Massachusetts, published poet Matthew Barton from Bristol, in England, and poet, writer and former physiotherapist Sue Wootton from Dunedin in New Zealand.

And competing for the UK NHS 2013 Hippocrates £5000 first prize are family doctor Ann Lilian Jay from LLandysul in Wales, former nurse Ann Elisabeth Gray who runs a care home for dementia in Cornwall, poet and novelist Mary V Williams from Shropshire, hospital chaplain Ian McDowell, from London and senior lecturer in midwifery Bella Madden from Milton Keynes.

The winners will be announced at an International Symposium on Poetry and Medicine at the Wellcome Rooms in London on Saturday May 18th, which is being supported by the Fellowship of Postgraduate Medicine.  The symposium will include poster sessions, lectures, round table discussions and readings by Philip Gross, Jo Shapcott, Wendy French and Jane Kirwan.

The judges also agreed 18 commendations in the NHS category - 1 each from Scotland and Wales and 16 from England; and 20 in the Open International category -  1 each from from Ireland, Scotland and Israel, 7 from the USA and 10 from the England, from the Isle of Wight to Yorkshire.

Judge Jo Shapcott said: 'The Hippocrates Prize, since its inception in 2009, has quickly established itself as one of the most important international prizes for poetry as well as providing a unique place for poetry and medicine to meet.  Its international reach is reflected in this years prizewinners who come from countries all round the globe, including New Zealand, the USA, Ireland, and Israel.'

She added: 'You might imagine that poetry on medical themes would be sad, even grim reading, but far from it.  There was a lively range of subjects and perspectives in this year's batch, and the judges were lucky enough to be debating the merits of some outstanding poems which have in common their sheer brio, skill, and passion, and often an exhilarating deftness in deploying medical language so that it sings.'

Judge Roger Highfield commented 'The Hippocrates Prize for Poetry and Medicine works brilliantly because medicine is where science collides with life. Again and again I found myself transported in mind and spirit to unfamiliar situations where I encountered the memories, experiences and inner emotional worlds of others. I found it enthralling and, at times, disturbing, a powerful reminder of the mysterious way that a few words can herd our thoughts and emotions.'

Judge Theodore Dalrymple remarked 'As the Hippocrates Prize once again demonstrates, health care is a fertile source of poetic inspiration. All the poems arise from the need to communicate a deep human experience, and succeed in doing so.?

The awards symposium will consider the relationship between poetry and medicine, with topics including poetry as therapy, using poetry in health professional training, the impact of health and disease on the professional poet and the history of poetry and medicine.

Speakers for the awards symposium are from the USA, UK, Spain and Switzerland.

The Hippocrates Initiative - winner of the 2011 Times Higher Education Award for Innovation and Excellence in the Arts - is an interdisciplinary venture that investigates the synergy between medicine, the arts, and health.

To attend the Symposium see http://hippocrates-poetry.org

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