ACU Prize for Poetry

ACU Poetry Prize 2017 banner


Entries for the 2017 Australian Catholic University (ACU) Prize for Poetry are now welcome, with writers competing for the coveted $10,000 first prize.

The ACU Prize for Poetry will be awarded for outstanding poetry with the theme ‘Joy’, and will be presented on Thursday 31 August 2017 in Melbourne.

Celebrated Australian poet Professor Chris Wallace-Crabbe AM will judge the prize.

Regarded as one of Australia’s most prolific and finest poets, Professor Wallace-Crabbe has published works spanning more than 60 years, dating back to 1955’s No Glass Houses. His talents have earnedaward recognition across seven decades, including the 1992 Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Poetry Award, The Age 1995 Book of the Year, and ultimately becoming a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 2011.

Professor Wallace-Crabbe helped shape the face of poetry and Australian culture, founding the Australia Centre at the University of Melbourne, where he serves as an Emeritus Professor, along with his time as the chair of Australian Poetry.

The Prize’s sponsor, ACU’s Director of Identity and Mission, Fr Anthony Casamento, reflecting on this year’s theme commented:

At a time of uncertainty across the world, now, as much as any time in the past, we need to be joy-filled people. Poetry is a powerful medium for reflecting on how joy can be manifested, or how its absence can be damaging.”

The ACU Prize for Poetry aims to support writers and to continue the tradition of the Catholic Church as a key patron of the arts.

Prize money

First prize: $10,000
Second prize: $5,000
Third prize: $3,000


Chris Wallace-Crabbe

Poet, distinguished academic and critic, generous contributor to literary culture, Chris Wallace-Crabbe is one of the best known figures in Australia’s literary community and also enjoys a wider reputation in the international world of letters.

He began publishing poetry while an undergraduate, producing many volumes and winning awards and prizes, including the Grace Leven Poetry Prize in 1985 for The Amorous Cannibal, the Dublin Prize for the Arts and Sciences in 1987 and the Philip Hodgins Memorial Medal in 2002. His Selected Poems: 1956-1994 won both the Dinny O’Hearn Poetry Prize and the Book of the Year Award in the 1995 Age Book of the Year Awards.

In 2011 he was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia, and last year he was awarded the prestigious Melbourne Prize for Literature in “recognition of his outstanding contribution to Australian literature and cultural and intellectual life”.

How to enter

Australian residents, including any international student currently studying at an Australian university, are eligible to enter.

Entered poems must be unpublished (including on any website or blog), must not have won any other competition, and must not be under consideration by any publisher, literary journal or for any other prize.

Entries will be open between Monday 3 April and Monday 3 July. The shortlisted, commended and winning poems will be announced on Thursday 31 August.

Get involved on social media using the hashtag #ACUpoetry.

Download the entry form (PDF, 609KB)
Read the Poetry Prize guidelines

For more information, contact:

Identity and Mission, ACU
Phone: +61 2 9739 2380