Emma Walton Hamilton Wins British Poetry Prize

Emma Walton Hamilton.
Emma Walton Hamilton has won the £5K Bridport Prize Poetry Award. Based in the U.K., the international writing competition, now in its 49th year, helps fund Bridport Arts Centre in Dorset, England.Hamilton’s poem, “Over the Tannoy” is a conversation across time with her great-grandfather, a South Yorkshire coal miner. Hamilton and her husband, Stephen Hamilton, live in Sag Harbor and in 1991, co-founded Bay Street Theater with the late Sybil Christopher. Hamilton is the director of the Children’s Lit Fellows program for Stony Brook Southampton’s MFA in Creative Writing & Literature program. She is the daughter of Julie Andrews and has written a number of children’s books with her mother, but says she writes poetry “purely for myself.”“To have submitted the poem anonymously without any indication of my name, my relationship to my mother, just the words on the page and then to win was the greatest gift I could have been given,” Hamilton said in a statement. “And, hopefully, it has cured me of my imposter syndrome!”

The Bridport Prize is judged blind and this year’s poetry judge was Raymond Antrobus, a British poet, educator and writer, who said it was “the toughest competition I’ve ever judged.” He described Hamilton’s poem as “a form to inspire more writers to delve into family archives. It’s a new kind of found poem, a new way of speaking to and from a lineage.”

Passionate about discovering writing talent from around the world, previous winners of The Bridport Prize include novelist Kate Atkinson, Kit de Waal and Deepa Anappara. Many writers have launched their careers with The Bridport Prize and ended up on the best sellers list.