Canberra-based poet wins 2020 ACU Prize for Poetry

28 September 2020
A 2019 file image of 2020 ACU Prize for Poetry judge Emeritus Professor Chris Wallace-Crabbe (left) and Canberra-based poet Geoff Page. Image: ACU/Supplied.


Canberra-based poet Geoff Page is the 2020 winner of the ACU Prize for Poetry for his entry Jericho. His winning poem was selected ahead of Footprints by Fiona Lynch from Elwood in Victoria ($5,000 second prize) and Atlas Carried the World by Damen O’Brien from Wynnum in Queensland ($3,000 third prize).

It is not the first time Geoff Page has been a finalist in the awards: he took out second prize in 2019 and first prize in 2017. Judging for the competition is completed in a blind format to ensure impartiality.

In keeping with current government public health restrictions, Australian Catholic University (ACU) has changed how it is announcing and celebrating the winners this year.

ACU put together a short video presentation that featured ACU Vice Chancellor and President Professor Greg Craven AO GCSG, and the judge of the 2020 ACU Prize for Poetry Professor Chris Wallace-Crabbe announcing the winners.

The video also features the three winners of the 2020 ACU Prize for Poetry reading their winning poems.

More than 500 poems were submitted from every state and territory across Australia. The winner was chosen from a shortlist of 45 poems.

Professor Wallace-Crabbe is one of the best-known figures in Australia’s literary community and enjoys a wider reputation in the international world of letters.

He singled out Mr Page’s poem for its richly coloured response to this year’s theme, Generosity.

“It was a delight for me to read the verse that rolled in for this year’s ACU Poetry Prize. Poetry can speak to us all, but in many creative hats and guises. This art gives us its message at the very same time as it delivers the music and magic of our language. Such is its generosity.”

ACU Vice President Father Anthony Casamento csma, whose office sponsors the ACU Prize for Poetry, noted that: “the Arts are integral to expression. Early Christians, in particular, used symbols, iconography, music and creative language as a way of understanding and identifying their faith.

“The process of artistic creation points to the transformative life that offers joy and hope, which in these unprecedented times is as important as ever. ACU is delighted to be sponsoring this prize for Australian poets who responded by displaying a richness and diversity in this year’s competition.

The poems will be published in the 2020 ACU Prize for Poetry Chapbook which is available for purchase by emailing:

ACU Prize for Poetry winners list 

1st prize – $10,000 Geoff Page Jericho

2nd prize – $5,000 Fiona Lynch Footprints

3rd prize – $3000 Damen O’Brien Atlas Carried the World


With thanks to ACU.


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