The programme runs biennially for three editions between 2017 and 2022 supporting a total of nine artists, three Fellowships per edition. Successful artists each receive £15,000 to support a year of Fellowship, during which they are matched with a core mentor and will have further access to a range of advisers and critical friends to support their developing practice.
The year-long Fellowships invest in the process and practice of making poetry, rewarding individuals who are making, or are capable of making, a significant contribution to a community of poetry. A distinctive part of the Fellowships is that they provide an open space for poetic practice, with no expectation of published work or performed events as a result of the award.
In 2017 Jerwood Charitable Foundation and Arts Council England worked with 250 nominators nationally, including poets, publishers, editors, literary development agencies, artists, funders and festival organisers. Their nominations led to 190 applications, resulting in a culturally and professionally diverse longlist of 65 poets from which a shortlist of eight was selected for interview.
The selection panel included writer, critic and academic David Dabydeen, poets Kate Fox and Mimi Khalvati, Gemma Seltzer, Relationship Manager (Literature), Arts Council England and Shonagh Manson, Director, Jerwood Charitable Foundation.
The Fellowships reward a culturally and creatively diverse series of individuals, which could mean both discovering emerging talent and rewarding experience and excellence. They also offer an opportunity to engage in critical conversations about what poetry can be, and is today. We are looking to identify and encourage those who may not normally consider applying for development opportunities, awards or prizes.
The inaugural Jerwood Compton Poetry Fellows are: Raymond Antrobus, Jane Commane and Jackie Hagan.
In 1964, a bequest was made by Mr Joseph Compton, one of the first directors of the Poetry Book Society, to the Arts Council with the aim of helping poets and of bringing poetry to a wider audience. Using accrued interest from the bequest and funds from Jerwood Charitable Foundation and the Arts Council, the new Jerwood Compton Poetry Fellowships will offer a significant new development opportunity for poets, funded to the value of £220,000.