Poetry Judge | Winner of the 2019 Poetry Prize


Will Hatchett lives in London with his cat. He was born in Oxford in 1958 but has adopted Kidderminster as his home town, because lots of his family live there. He began working as a journalist in 1986. Now that he is home-based, he writes some other stuff, including poetry and songs. He likes to play guitar and bass guitar and ukulele. He has three grand children.

What advice would you give to people entering the 2020 competition? 

You don’t need a special writing chair, you don’t need a golden pen, or moonlight, or a moleskin notebook. You simply need to have something to say. Some poems ‘just happen’. But generally they don’t. You need to create the conditions for inspiration. Entering a competition comes under that heading. Never be discouraged. I love what Samuel Beckett said: “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”

As a judge, what are you looking for in a poem?

Originality. The form or words of a poem may actually be unpolished. The poetry is the light that shines through them.