Philip Gross & Competition Prize Winners with music from Vulva Voce 20 May 2023

Please join us on Saturday 20 May 2023, 2.30-4.00 at the International Anthony Burgess Foundation when Philip Gross, judge for our 2023 competition, will present the winners with their prizes. The winners, Laura Theis, Sara-Jane Arbury and Steve Pottinger will read their winning poems and others and Philip will also read his own work.

You will find all the information you need regarding visiting the IABF on their website here. The event is free and everyone is welcome. Read all about the poets and musicians below:

Philip Gross

Photo credit: Stephen Morris

Philip Gross has published 25 collections, for adults and for young people, over 40 years of publication; his latest, The Thirteenth Angel (Bloodaxe, 2022), a PBS
Recommendation, is shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize. He won the T.S. Eliot in 2009, a Cholmondeley Award in 2017, and is a keen collaborator, e.g. with Lesley Saunders on A Part of the Main (Mulfran, 2018), with scientists on the young people’s collection Dark Sky Park (Otter-Barry, 2018) and with artist Valerie Coffin Price and Welsh-language poet Cyril Jones on Troeon/Turnings (Seren, 2021).


Laura Theis (1st Prize)

Writing in her second language, Laura Theis received a Distinction from Oxford University’s MSt in Creative Writing. Her work appears in venues such as Poetry, Mslexia, Magma, Rattle, and Strange Horizons, and anthologies by Candlestick Press, Broken Sleep Books, Pan Macmillan, and Aesthetica, amongst many others. Her Elgin-Award-nominated debut ‘how to extricate yourself’, an Oxford Poetry Library Book-of-the-Month, won the Brian Dempsey Memorial Prize. She was the recipient of the Society of Authors’ Arthur Welton Award, the AM Heath Prize, EAL Oxford Brookes Poetry Prize, Mogford Prize, Hammond House International Literary Award, and a Forward Prize nomination. 

A runner-up for the Mairtin Crawford Award, she was shortlisted for the Women Poets’ Prize, the Bridport Prize, the Margaret Reid Poetry Prize, the Hippocrates Prize, the Alpine Fellowship, and a finalist for numerous other literary awards including the National Poetry Competition and the BBC Short Story Award. Her forthcoming book  ‘A Spotter’s Guide for Invisible Things’ has won the 2022 Live Canon Collection Prize.

She lives in Oxford with her partner (a neuroscientist) and her dog (a lunatic).

Sara-Jane Arbury (Joint 2nd Prize)

Sara-Jane Arbury is a writer, poet, performer and tutor. She has collaborated with many organisations including Oxford University Press, the National Literacy Trust, Ledbury Poetry Festival and Writing West Midlands, and is a former Director of the Voices Off programme at Cheltenham Literature Festival. Sara-Jane was a finalist in the 2021 Mslexia Women’s Poetry Competition and longlisted for The Plough International Poetry Prize. Her poems appear in anthologies, most recently Tools Of The Trade: Poems For New Doctors published by The Scottish Poetry Library. Sara-Jane is Writer-in-Residence for Herefordshire’s site-specific theatre company Feral Productions.

Steve Pottinger (Joint 2nd Prize)

Steve Pottinger is a founding member of Wolverhampton arts collective Poets, Prattlers, and Pandemonialists. He’s an engaging and accomplished performer who has performed the length and breadth of the country, and his work regularly appears online in CultureMatters and the Morning Star. His sixth volume of poems, ‘thirty-one small acts of love and resistance’ published by Ignite Books, is out now. His website is at 

Vulva Voce

Julia Sandros-Alper  violin

Georgina Finlayson   violin

Nadia Eskandari   viola

Lucy McLuckie   cello


“Rarely have I felt so moved (and frankly, knocked sideways) by a string ensemble performance.” Michelle Phillips, RNCM

Vulva Voce is an all-female genre-defying string quartet that brings exciting, dynamic performances of music composed by women and underrepresented voices to spaces and venues beyond the concert hall. Their mission is to break away from long held conventions of classical music and the string quartet, presenting audiences with radical and refreshing musical experiences. All classically trained, but with interests in folk, jazz, improvisation, contemporary classical and experimental music making, their performances are a unique delve into female composers from across centuries.

Established in 2021 at the Royal Northern College of Music, Vulva Voce are winners of RNCM’s StART Creative Innovator Award 2022 and the Elias Chamber Music Prize. They have recently performed at Pianodrome at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, and in the Connect Chamber Music Festival in Manchester. This summer, they were the quartet-in-residence at the South Downs Summer Music Festival.

Vulva Voce appears by kind permission of the RNCM.


About Janet Rogerson

Janet Rogerson
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2 Responses to Philip Gross & Competition Prize Winners with music from Vulva Voce 20 May 2023

  1. David Elliott says:

    I had assumed this competition was for non-professional poets. Silly me.


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