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David Harold Tribe Poetry Award now offering $20,000 for the best original poem

5 April 2023
Apply now for the 2023 David Harold Tribe Poetry Award

This award recognises an exceptional Australian poem and provides the winning poet with funds to further their education in poetry and continue to refine their work as poets. The award aims to improve the general public's appreciation of Australian poetry.

In celebration of Australian poetry the Discipline of English and the Master of Creative Writing at the University of Sydney present the 2023 David Harold Tribe Poetry Award.  This year the award offers the richest poetry prize in Australia of $20,000 for an original unpublished poem on any theme, up to 100 lines in length.

The award has been made possible by a generous gift to the University by David Harold Tribe, author, and humanist. Awarded every five years, the prize aims to encourage the writing and enjoyment of poetry in Australia.

“The David Harold Tribe Poetry Award certainly sparked interest in Australian poetry when it was last held in 2018. Back then the University received more than 300 submissions,” said Dr Beth Yahp, Director of the Master of Creative Writing in the School of Art, Communication and English. "An award like this offers poets – arguably the most precariously positioned of artists – the opportunity to be recognised for their contribution to Australian literature and gain a little time and freedom to write."

In 2018 the judges chose the poems by joint winners Grace Heyer and Ella O’Keefe from a strong and varied field. Grace Heyer won the award for her poem ‘The Other Kingdom is Like This’, while Ella O’Keefe was recognised for her poem ‘warped up lamplight’.

For O’Keefe, finding out she had won the award was “a surprise of the best kind”, while Heyer added that winning the award was “profoundly encouraging”.

The judges for the David Harold Tribe Poetry Award 2023 are Dr Toby Fitch, John Kinsella and Ellen Van Neerven.

Who was David Harold Tribe?

David Harold Tribe was an Australian secularist, humanist, and author of numerous books, articles, and pamphlets. In 2005 Tribe initiated the University of Sydney's David Harold Tribe Awards Program in fiction, poetry, philosophy, sculpture, and symphony. The award rotates across the five categories; thus, the Poetry award is held every five years.

His legacy includes awards in the fields of philosophy, poetry, fiction, symphony and sculpture. Taking place every five years, the David Harold Tribe Poetry Award encourages interest and excellence in poetry.

With a broad-ranging interest in the arts, Tribe once said he selected the categories because he felt certain areas of the arts were not being equally supported through awards.

“I wanted to foster excellence in artistic fields that have hitherto been neglected, to support creative individuals who wouldn't normally get a sum like that.”

How to apply

Entries open on 3 April 2023 and close on Sunday 4 June 2023 at 11:59pm (AEST).

Ensure your work complies with the award's Conditions of Entry. The prize is open to anyone normally resident in Australia. Visit the submission portal for details and to enter the competitions.

For more information, including the terms and conditions of the awards, visit the submission portal or email

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