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  • Writer's pictureBelle Kenyon

Aryamati Prize 2021 Winners

It has been such a pleasure for Isabelle Kenyon and Kayla Jenkins judging the 2022 prize this year. What is truly special for 2022, is that Fly on the Wall Press will be able to work with the winner to publish their pamphlet. This will be the first Aryamati Prize pamphlet!

Without further ado, our winners...

(Our winner receives a traditional pamphlet publication contract with Fly on the Wall Press for 2022 publication, 10 Fly on the Wall books worth £100, 250 copies of a chosen poem printed on limited edition postcards, Fly on the Wall Blog and Youtube showcase and, in collaboration with Manchester Metropolitan University and Manchester Poetry Library, the winner will be invited to record their poem as part of an interview by the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at Manchester Metropolitan University and Manchester Poetry Library.)

Our 2021 winner is...

Sundra Lawrence was born and resides in north London. She is of Sri Lankan Tamil heritage. Her work often interweaves themes of migration, and conflict and does so with empathy and a deftness of touch. She has performed her work across the UK and internationally. Her poetry and short stories have featured on national television, radio, podcasts, and art exhibitions. They are published in anthologies including the Los Angeles Review. Sundra is the founder and director of Write Lines. She teaches creative writing, and is a creative consultant for the London Literature Lounge. She is a Malika’s Poetry Kitchen Alumni.

Though the pamphlet is untitled, the content of Lawrence's work proved to be detailed and moving. These poems exploring civil war in Sri Lanka are incredibly brave and necessary, shining a spotlight on the resilience of the locals - as well as the lingering, multigenerational effects that the brutality of war leaves on people long after they have left their home. We can't wait to publish this pamphlet next year, which spans across 30 years of family history.

Runners up:

(Runners up receive 3 Fly on the Wall ebooks and a choice of one of the following: 3 paperbacks from shop or a line by line edit of 5 poems of poet's choice. A chosen poem will also be published on the Fly on the Wall Blog and the poets will be invited to record a video of the piece for the Fly on the Wall Youtube Channel.)

Lizzy Lister is a musician by trade who lives in a railway station in Cornwall. She plays in a band called Wurlitza, setting live soundtracks to silent films, and as a day job rents out eco-friendly railway carriages as holiday accommodation. Train travel, and the opportunities it offers to meet people and share stories has been a lifelong love, and experiencing the generosity of people who have very little has been humbling. Lizzy fears that sometimes wealth erodes compassion, and hopes that in some small way her writing might be able to inspire humanity and offer a different perspective than that of the often toxic mainstream media. When not writing, playing music, gardening, dancing, cycling or painting Lizzy can be found swimming in the sea.

The judges enjoyed this open-hearted pamphlet as it offered an interesting dynamic between the different perspectives of a collective effort to help Syrian refugees through charitable causes led by community groups. The poems also detailed the lives and journeys of selected migrants, which proved to be thought-provoking and emotive throughout.

Christian Yeo graduated with a BA in Law from Cambridge. His work has been published or is forthcoming in The Mays, Anthropocene, Quarterly Literary Review Singapore, Menacing Hedge, Bad Betty Press ("The Book of Bad Betties"), Ethos Books ("This is not a safety barrier"), Ekstasis Magazine, The Tiger Moth Review, Given Grace, and the jfa human rights journal, among others; it won the Arthur Sale Poetry Prize, and has been shortlisted for the Bridport Prize, the Sykes Prize, and the CUPPS Poetry and Prose Prize. His work has been performed at the Lancaster and Singapore Poetry Festivals, and he was a semi-finalist at UniSlam 2021.

In particular, what we loved about this pamphlet was Yeo's craft and startling language. Thematically, the exploration of capitalism within Singapore and experiences of mental health during the unique experience of migrants in this country proved to be powerful and captivating.

Thank you to all our entrants this year, we can't wait to bring you a sample from each chapbooks on our blog in the coming weeks!

- Kayla and Isabelle x

*Should you wish to interview Sundra Lawrence about her award-winning pamphlet, do get in touch via email

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