The Kathryn Purnell Poetry Prize

Awarded for a poem of no more than 50 lines, this biennial award is named in honour of a much-loved member of SWWV.

Kathryn was born in Canada and lived in France, England, Scotland, Egypt, Indonesia and Africa. When she married an Australian she moved permanently to Melbourne. Kathryn continued her education at the University of Melbourne and became a creative writing tutor. Her poetry and prose was published in many magazines and broadcast on ABC radio. She was an editor in the Luna collective and won many awards for her work.

Kathryn Purnell ran poetry workshops in her home for members, who greatly benefited from her expertise and mentoring. She edited a number of poetry anthologies on behalf of SWWV.

After her death, the Society set up the Kathryn Purnell Poetry Prize in her honour. It is open to all women writers.

The 2021 Prize has now closed. You can find out about the winners and read Tegan Schetrumpf’s judges report here.

Previous Winners

The 2021 winners were:

The 2019 winners were:

The 2017 winners were:

  • First Prize: ‘You Are…’ by Mary Jones
  • Second Prize: ‘Washing Her Hair’ by Lorraine McGuigan
  • Third Prize: ‘Nest’ by Lorraine McGuigan
  • Honourable Mention: ‘Kangaroo’ by Lorraine McGuigan, and ‘A Poet Speaks To Her Progenies’ by Rhonda Poholke

The 2015 Kathryn Purnell Poetry Prize was won by Judith Green.




How to Enter

Keep a look out for announcements regarding the 2023 competition dates.

Key Dates

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