Annie Hunter is the winner of ACU’s 2018 Prize for Poetry

Victorian poet Annie Hunter was named the winner at a ceremony in Melbourne for her entry Athene noctua.

A record number of entries were received for this year’s ACU Prize for Poetry, with more than 540 poems received from every state and territory across Australia.

Ms Hunter was chosen from a shortlist of 50.

The Castlemaine poet’s entry was selected ahead of Sound Bridge by Felicity Plunkett of Croydon in NSW ($5000 second prize) and Point of Recognition by Jane Williams from New Town in Tasmania ($3000 third prize).

The competition was judged by Australian poet and distinguished academic and critic Professor Chris Wallace-Crabbe, one of the best-known figures in Australia’s literary community who enjoys a wider reputation in the international world of letters.

Professor Wallace-Crabbe singled out Ms Hunter’s winning poem for its richly coloured response to this year’s competition theme, Empathy.

“This lament for a dead mother takes on board Hegel's little owl along with the poet’s own childhood rebellion, the Greek gods and warriors, travel and ageing: and even southern foliage,” said Professor Wallace-Crabbe.

“But its long lines can take all that past on board. Musically, harmoniously, classically, it celebrates a mother’s life, its wildness, and its loss. This is a truly living achievement.”

ACU’s annual Prize for Poetry is sponsored by the Office of the Vice-President led by Father Anthony Casamento csma, and continues the tradition of the Catholic Church as a key patron of the arts.

“Australian Catholic University is delighted to continue its support of Australian artists, writers and poets. The number of entries and the calibre of writing from this year’s prize demonstrates that poetry and the process of artistic creation, broadly understood, continues to be alive and well in Australia.”

The poems will be published in the 2018 ACU Prize for Poetry chapbook which is available for purchase by emailing

Read the winning poem, "Athene noctua"


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