Nia Broomhall wins the Mslexia Women's Poetry Pamphlet 2023

Nia Broomhall wins the Mslexia Women's Poetry Pamphlet 2023


'Nia Broomhall’s poems have a distinctive musicality.' – Imtiaz Dharker, Judge for the 2023 Mslexia Women's Poetry Pamphlet Competition


Poet Nia Broomhall has been announced as winner of the winner of the Mslexia Women's Poetry Pamphlet Competition 2023.  Her winning pamphlet Backalong will be co-published by Bloodaxe Books and Mslexia on 19 September 2024 as part of the prize, which was judged by Imtiaz Dharker. The winner was revealed by Mslexia in their Summer 2024 issue.

'The collection ranges from beautifully restrained grief poems to musically rich sonnets. With a number of her poems, I found I wanted to read aloud to feel the full effect. Always a good sign, I think.'  – Imtiaz Dharker, Judge of the Mslexia Women's Poetry Pamphlet Competition, writing in Mslexia

An interview with Nia Broomhall and a poem from Backalong are featured on the Mslexia website here.


Backalong, a dialect word from Nia Broomhall’s native Somerset, describes any point in the past – it could be this March, last March, or 1979. True to its title, her impressive debut pamphlet observes the distant past and recent past with the same eyes: the distant past through poems of place and origin; the recent through poems that track the process of grieving for someone who was right there, not so long ago. Through its musicality of language, Backalong searches for joy, finding what persists – and finding the words to pick out what shines, despite everything.

Nia Broomhall won the 2023 Mslexia Women’s Poetry Pamphlet Competition judged by Imtiaz Dharker for her pamphlet Backalong, to be published by Bloodaxe Books/Mslexia in September 2024. She received an MA with distinction in Creative Writing from Lancaster University in 2023, and is Poet in Residence at Painshill Park in Surrey for 2024, funded by an Arts Council DYCP grant. Her poems were Highly Commended in the Winchester Poetry Prize in 2022 and 2023. She is co-Head of English at a comprehensive school in Surrey.

'Backalong is so pleasurable: it shines with hope and light, with "bright kindnesses" and reluctant grief. Nia Broomhall is a poet, a real one, whose poems will be loved.' – Conor O'Callaghan


To request digital review copies of Backalong, please email Christine Macgregor at  Printed review copies will be available in August 2024.


Bloodaxe Books took over the publication of the winning pamphlets in the Mslexia Women's Poetry Pamphlet Competition in 2022.  Prior to that, the competition was judged by Seren's now retired poetry editor Amy Wack with the pamphlets published by Seren. Bloodaxe took over from Seren with effect from the 2022 competition, which was judged by Imtiaz Dharker. Two previous winners, Sarah Wimbush (in 2019) and Yvonne Reddick (2016), went on to have their first book-length collections taken on by Bloodaxe. Four winners, Polly Atkin (2012), Cath Drake (2013), Ilse Pedler (2015) and Bryony Littlefair (2017), had book-length collections published by Seren, while Mara Bergman (2012) was taken up by Arc and Jane Lovell by Indigo Dreams. The most recent winner was Courtney Conrad (2022) for her pamphlet I Am Evidence, which went on to win the 2023 Michael Marks Poetry Award.

[03 June 2024]

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