Aryamati Prize 2022 Winner and Runner Ups Announcement!
A big thanks to all who entered the Aryamati Poetry Prize this year: our search for poetry pamphlets on the theme of peace and social change, a prize in the namesake of poet and activist Olga Aryamati Kenyon.
This year marks our second pamphlet chosen for publication, and saw the interpretations of social change and peace widen to explorations of mixed-race heritage and identity, community support across borders, illness and healing and more.
We were delighted with our shortlist, and choose a winning pamphlet and two runners up. Without further ado, our winner is...
Katrina Dybzynska and pamphlet 'Secrets of the Dictator’s Wife'!
In this poetry pamphlet, we are privy to the secrets of a Dictator's Wife. Is she complicit? Do we trust her? She wonders if she has already reached the turning point of morality. It seems she will have to choose a side!
Isabelle said: "I fell in love with The Dictator's Wife and all her secrets! Her moral dilemmas and the way Kat paints an empathetic view of history in her poems is fascinating."
About the Author:
Katrina Dybzynska is a nomadic writer published internationally (among others, Mslexia, the London Reader, Poethead, Fly on the Wall Press, Lucent Dreaming) and awarded in 20 competitions. She is a BA-MA Researcher at Global Centre for Advanced Studies. She is passionate about the narratives of ecopoetry, uncivilisation and decolonization. She likes to write from the edges, usually of the Irish cliffs she parks her campervan too close to.
She has just completed working on a poetry collection that explores power, resistance, and compliance dynamics, Secrets of the Dictator’s Wife. She also runs wild creativity retreats in Andalusia: https://katdybzynska.wixsite.com/page
Soon we will be sharing an exciting poem from the collection and hear Katrina read for our YouTube channel. Should you wish to interview Katrina about her work, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
We are delighted to present our runners up!
Isabella Mead and her poetry pamphlet, 'Dear Rwanda'.
In this poetry pamphlet, there was a real sense of place and atmosphere: 'the praying-mantis grips a candle' and a sense of things being done differently: 'peace is more important than justice'. Here, there is a culture of community which does not require 'thank yous'.
Isabelle said: "I was impressed with Isabella's poetic craft and the spirit of the people she captured. The empathy of the poetry felt like it captured the ethos of the prize well."
About the Poet:
Isabella Mead lives in Bristol with Ama the cat. She is Head of Learning at the Story Museum in Oxford and a Trustee of Jane Austen House. She holds a Master’s in History of Art and studying French, Italian, Spanish and Bengali towards a second BA degree. A former secondary English teacher in East London, she worked for two years as a teacher trainer in a rural Rwandan village, an experience which profoundly informs her writing. She won the Ver Poetry Competition (2022), the Telegraph Poetry Competition (2022), the Julian Lennon Poetry Prize (2021), the Bedford International Poetry Prize (2020) and the Wells International Poetry Competition (2019). She was a finalist in the Brotherton Poetry Prize (2021) for which her poetry appears in an anthology published by Carcanet.
Natasha Devalia and her poetry pamphlet 'Unseen Veins'
About the Poet:
Natasha Devalia moves to the rhythm of her breath, to the melodies of those closest to her, and to the sounds of the world at large.
Natasha is Zambian of Indian heritage, living in Thailand. She writes, performs, teaches dance and yoga, and enjoys painting. The themes of her art include, but are not exclusive to mental health, migration, identity, and family life.
Natasha is a wife, mother of twins, artist, and founder of Studio Figure Eight, a dance, yoga, and fitness space.
Some of her poems have been published in Namaskar magazine as well as the Ink Sac, a Cephalopress web feature. She is currently in the process of writing a memoir: "The Gift", about her experiences with IVF, twin pregnancy, premature delivery of her twins, and her mental health while living in Asia as a young woman.
In this poetry pamphlet, the complexities of how we label ourselves and where we belong are laid bare. From the place where we are born, to our parents' heritage, to our name's origin, we are asked to 'choose a side'. This poet hopes for a world where their children can choose their own identity.
Isabelle said: "I was blown away by Natasha's ability to capture the complexities of identity and not shy away from both the more challenging questions of societal boxes and what that meant for her children."
A big congratulations to all our winners! We look forward to sharing their work with you in the coming weeks.