Named after SVP’s co-founder, and in collaboration with the Canterbury Poets’ Collective, the biannual award offers publication to the best debut manuscript of a local poet.

The inaugural competition was judged by well-known New Zealand poet, Elizabeth Smither, who chose my thoughts are all of swimming, by Rose Collins.

In her judges remarks, Elizabeth wrote:

“This highly accomplished, beautifully ordered collection of consistently stunning poems, ranges from the wide-lensed beginning to a focus on the particular … There is a steadiness of tone, a poise, an assured fully-developed voice, clear-seeing, measuring, at times almost forensic; … whatever the subject Rose Collins has the enviable ability to be both present and an observer at the same time. My thoughts are all of swimming has the best kind of style, the subsumed kind that accentuates personality rather than diminishes it.”

This beautiful book will be launched at Tūranga, the main Christchurch City Library, on National Poetry day on August 26th. See here for event details, or here to place your order for a copy.

Five finalists, I thought, when the mss arrived in a parcel. This shouldn’t be too difficult.

Who was I kidding? It was some of the hardest judging I have ever done .…

– Elizabeth Smither, judge 2021/22 Award

Planning for the 2023/24 JOC Award is underway. Stay tuned for details!