We have now announced the prize winners for our inaugural Patricia Eschen Prize for Poetry 2022.  The international poetry competition garnered entries from across the U.K. and around the world, with the top prize of £1000 in the adult competition awarded to Camilla Lambert, a poet and retired NHS Manager from Arundel, West Sussex (U.K.), for her poem ‘Gifts from a Lithic Lover’.
Our pair of brilliant judges, Katrina Naomi and Penelope Shuttle, read over 3000 poems submitted across the adult’s and children’s categories and selected a shortlist of 22 poems in the adult’s category and 8 in the children’s category. 

Penelope Shuttle described the process as a “fascinating and educative experience” and went on to say that “reading the poems was exhilarating and often profoundly moving.” 

Katrina Naomi added: “When I begin reading through entries for a competition, I never know what I’m going to find. I’m looking for poems that needed to be written, poems with verve and imagery and power. I kept reading, and every now and then a poem would jump from the pile of 3000 and into my head and my heart. Penelope and I read and re-read our longlist. We read the poems to each other, scored them, discussed them, and read them again. Slowly out of all of these entries, the winners emerged, shining, asking to be heard. Congratulations to everyone shortlisted and a huge well done to the winners. This is quite an achievement.”

The poems were judged anonymously, so the judges were excited to discover that they had chosen such an international shortlist with poets hailing from all over the world, as far afield as Christchurch (New Zealand), Lagos (Nigeria) and Florida (U.S.A) with plenty of poets from across the U.K. too and one of the shortlist a Morrab Library member from Penzance. 


We thought we’d tell you a little bit more about the competition winning poets and also share clips of the poets reading their winning poems in their own voices at our hybrid event which took place at The Exchange in Penzance earlier this month.

Camilla Lambert

Camilla Lambert was awarded first prize for her poem ‘Gifts from a Lithic Lover’. You can read the poem here or watch Camilla reading her poem here.

Cornwall has been a major source of inspiration for Camilla’s writing, stemming from time spent over the years with family on both the north and south coasts of Cornwall. This was reflected in her winning poem and Katrina Naomi introduced the poem by saying: “This poem does some amazing things around love, around geology, around the days of the week. It makes me think of a week very differently to how I used to think of a week. There’s so much imagination. There’s a bit of Cornwall, alongside places all around the world in this poem. It’s very imaginative and shows real ambition. And for Penny and I, it was a clear winner”.

She began writing poetry in 2007 on retirement from being an NHS manager. Since then she has had individual poems published in poetry journals, organises an arts festival in Sussex and had  her pamphlet Grapes in the Crater published in 2015. She is now working on her full collection.

Marjory Woodfield

Second prize was awarded to Marjory Woodfield from Christchurch New Zealand for her poem ‘Sails Catch the Wind’. You can read the poem here or watch Marjory read the poem here. As Marjory explained at the awards ceremony, the prompt for her poem was a bowl from a shipwreck with a gazelle on it which was  found by the husband of her former landlady in Singapore, a shipwreck diver.

Penelope Shuttle introduced the poem at the event: “Here we have a lyric poem, beautiful and delicate as the Chinese porcelain, whose journey from raw clay to finished, painted bowl, is beautifully described. There’s a lost ship. There’s porcelain fished up from the sea. There’s the painted gazelles on the bowl. This poem […] conveys the vulnerability and beauty of the world and, by lovely implication, all of us here on earth”.   

Marjory is a writer and her flash fiction, poems, and articles have appeared in The BBC, stuff.co.nz as well as literary journals and anthologies. She won the New Zealand Robert Burns Poetry Competition (2020) and the NZSA Heritage Poetry Award (2022).

Anna Remennik

The third prize winner in the Patricia Eschen Prize for Poetry 2022 was Anna Remennik from California (U.S.A) for her poem ‘Kyiv, spring 1986’. You can read the poem here or watch Anna reading the poem aloud here. 

Anna grew up in Soviet-era Kiev (now Kyiv, Ukraine) and is now a chemical engineer working in Silicon Valley. She enjoys writing poems about automatic titrators, technical supply chain processes, and occasionally even more fantastical things. 

Penelope Shuttle introduced the poem at the award’s ceremony:  “Here we have a poem that uses form with a practised, unobtrusive grace, and handling a difficult theme with the same grace. This is a retrospective of the Chernobyl disaster seen at a distance, yet with immediacy and iit speaks throughout of our world’s fragility while the title echoes forward to Ukraine’s present predicament”

Anna added: “Although I wrote this poem a couple of years ago, it’s been especially in my mind with everything that’s going on currently”.

Children’s competition:

Penelope and Katrina were both truly “wowed” by the quality of the poems in the children’s category. 

Penelope Shuttle said “The standard of the children’s poetry was exceptionally high. Well done all! And congratulations to the teachers for giving their students, however young, deep access to the imagination, and the power of articulation.”


First prize was awarded to 14 year-old Katie Geng for her poem “Dear Mother, from your Daughter”. At the awards ceremony, Katrina commented it was an “amazing poem” and she hopes Katie will “continue writing poetry and look[s] forward to seeing [Katie’s] name in books in time to come”.  You can read Katie’s poem here

The children’s competition received over 200 submissions and the judges were so impressed by the calibre of entries that they decided to appoint joint second and joint third prize winners, generously supported by the Dennis Myner Trust. 

Dexter Warburton, aged 13, won second prize for her poem called ‘A Boy Talking To A Robot In The Future About Where He Lives’ which you can read here. Caterina Williams was awarded joint second prize for her poem ‘The Flow of Words’, which you can read here

The judges loved the form of the joint third prize winner, 7 year old Ziva Patel’s poem, ‘Refugees’ which you can read here. 9 year old  Benjamin Williams, younger brother of Caterina Williams, was the joint third prize winner for his poem ‘Nonsense Safari’ – the judges particularly loved the rhymes in this poem which you can read for yourself here  

Morrab Library’s Librarian, Lisa Di Tommaso, has been delighted by the huge (and somewhat) unexpected response to the inaugural competition. “Welcoming entries from across the world, as well as locally, has been very exciting, and gave us the opportunity to host the Library’s first ever live, international hybrid event. It’s been a joy introducing our library to a wider audience.”

You can read many the highly commended poems, in the adult’s and children’s category, on the website here 

Morrab Library, The Dennis Myner Trust and our judges would like to congratulate all of the shortlist poets and say a big thank you to everyone who took the time to enter the competition!