Home > News > Winner of the 2024 Stallworthy Prize announced
Published on:
Monday 29 April 2024
Arts and humanities

Winner of the 2024 Stallworthy Prize announced

The 2024 Jon Stallworthy Poetry Prize has been awarded to Riley Faulds (Worcester College) for his poem ‘Selfslip’

Riley is an environmental scientist studying in Oxford for the MSt in World Literatures in English. He previously studied Agricultural Science and English & Cultural Studies at the University of Western Australia while simultaneously working as an environmental scientist. 

The competition was set up in memory of the late Professor Jon Stallworthy, poet and Fellow of Wolfson College, and is open to any student currently enrolled in postgraduate studies at the University of Oxford. This year’s theme was ‘Borders’, and was judged by Professor Bernard O’Donoghue and the Oxford Professor of Poetry, Alicia Stallings, who commented:

“Migration is perhaps one of the most ancient and, ironically, ‘defining’ of human activities, yet walls being built at national borders, to exclude one set of people and, in theory, protect another, cost human lives, and have the unforeseen consequence of interrupting millennia-old migratory patterns and paths of wildlife at a time when Nature needs more consideration from us, not less. ‘Selfslip’ addresses not only the shifting border of the estuary, but how such shifting land/water is the site of some shifty human activity. Out of the landscape evolve questions of who belongs where, what belongs to whom. The poem even finds its way into addressing larger issues of climate change and shifting sea levels, all without devolving into the didactic or the heavy-handed.” 

Riley’s writing has previously been published in Australian literary journals, but in his own words, “he saves the best poems for birthday cards.” An “environmental scientist in the streets and a poet in the sheets,” Riley admits he would probably write a lot more if he didn’t spend so much time looking for his pen, or fishing notebooks out of the washing machine. When not studying or pen-searching, he loves to kitesurf, hike, play hockey, and daydream of his favorite places in the south-west of Western Australia, his home.

‘Selfslip’ won out over 50+ entries submitted by Oxford’s postgraduate poets. The runner-up was Samuel Rigg (St Edmund Hall), and the other shortlisted poets were Grace Copeland (Somerville), Harry Ledgerwood (Somerville), Lauren Lee (Wolfson), and Jordan Maly-Preuss (Merton).You can read the winning poem below, and you’ll find all the shortlisted poems in thein the annual Jon Stallworthy Poetry Prize booklet, available to read in Oxford libraries later this year.