Submissions are now open for the 2017 Bruce Dawe National Poetry Prize; an annual $2500 award endowed by Emeritus Professor Bruce Dawe AO to celebrate Australian poetry. The winner will be announced at the USQ Alumni Network’s USQ Bookcase Writers’ Festival.

Professor Dawe believes that Australian poet’s contributions shape our Australian culture. He encourages universities to support the study of literature and promote the arts in Australian society. His decision to sponsor this prominent Literary Prize is an ongoing, living proof of his conviction.

Widely recognised as Australia’s most popular poet, Professor Dawe was born in Fitzroy, Victoria in 1930 and was educated at Northcote High School, Melbourne. After leaving school at 16, he worked in various occupations before joining the RAAF in 1959. Upon leaving the RAAF in 1968, Bruce began a teaching career at Downlands College, Toowoomba, in 1969.

Professor Dawe was appointed as a Lecturer at the Darling Downs Institute of Advanced Education (DDIAE) in 1971, became a Senior Lecturer in 1980, and an Associate Professor following the status change to the University of Southern Queensland. He retired from full-time teaching in 1993 and was appointed as the first Honorary Professor of USQ in recognition of his contribution to the University. He has taught U3A classes ever since his retirement from full-time teaching.

He was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Letters by USQ for his services to literature in 1995, a Distinguished Alumni Award by the University of New England in 1996, and an Honorary Doctor of Letters by the University of New South Wales in 1997.

Professor Dawe has published 12 books of poetry, one book of short stories, one book of essays, and has edited two other books.

He wrote the lyrics for the children’s theatre play, Aesop’s Fables, performed in the Arts Theatre, USQ, Toowoomba in April, 2000. He also wrote the lyrics for the musical play, Muscle Dance, based on the life of polio crusader, Sister Elizabeth Kenny. This was performed in the Empire Theatre, Toowoomba in early August the same year.

The Bruce Dawe National Poetry Prize is open to Australian citizens and permanent residents. You may submit no more than five poems for consideration, and each poem must be an original work of the entrant. The poems must not be published, under offer to any publication, or offered for publication until the adjudication is finalised and the winner is notified and announced. Each poem must not exceed 50 lines, and should be typed in a clear font no smaller than size 11.

Entries will close on Friday, 12 May 2017.



Banner image: Bruce Dawe by Sven Roehrs (Fryer Library accession number 100528)