Founded in 2014 by the former UK Poet Laureate Sir Andrew Motion, actress and campaigner Joanna Lumley, and entrepreneur and environmentalist Peter Phelps, the Resurgence Prize reflects the founders’ shared passion for and commitment to poems that investigate and challenge the relationship between Nature and human culture.
In 2017, the Resurgence Trust partnered with The Poetry School, the UK’s largest provider of poetry education, to run the prize.
Sir Andrew Motion (Chair)
Sir Andrew Motion, FRSL is an English poet, novelist, and biographer who was Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom from 1999 to 2009. Previously, he read English at University College, Oxford and subsequently spent two years writing about the poetry of Edward Thomas for an M. Litt. From 1976 to 1980 he taught English at the University of Hull; from 1980 to 1982 he edited the Poetry Review and from 1982 to 1989 he was Editorial Director and Poetry Editor at Chatto & Windus. During the period of his laureateship, Motion founded the Poetry Archive, an online resource of poems and audio recordings of poets reading their own work. In 2012, Sir Andrew became President of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, taking over from Bill Bryson, and in 2014 co-founded the Resurgence Poetry Prize.
A former monk and long-term peace and environment activist, Satish Kumar has been quietly setting the Global Agenda for change for over 50 years. He was just nine when he left his family home to join the wandering Jains and 18 when he decided he could achieve more back in the world, campaigning for land reform in India and working to turn Gandhi’s vision of a renewed India and a peaceful world into reality.
Inspired in his early 20s by the example of the British peace activist Bertrand Russell, Satish embarked on an 8,000-mile peace pilgrimage. Carrying no money and depending on the kindness and hospitality of strangers, he walked from India to America, via Moscow, London and Paris, to deliver a humble packet of ‘peace tea’ to the then leaders of the world’s four nuclear powers.
In 1973 Satish settled in the United Kingdom taking up the post of editor of Resurgence magazine, a position he has held ever since, making him the UK’s longest-serving editor of the same magazine. During this time, he has been the guiding spirit behind a number of now internationally-respected ecological and educational ventures including Schumacher College in South Devon where he is still a Visiting Fellow.
In his 50th year, Satish undertook another pilgrimage – again carrying no money. This time, he walked 2,000 miles to the holy places of Britain, a venture he describes as a celebration of his love of life and nature. In July 2000 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Education from the University of Plymouth. In July 2001, he received an Honorary Doctorate in Literature from the University of Lancaster. And in the November of that same year, he was presented with the Jamnalal Bajaj International Award for Promoting Gandhian Values Abroad.
His autobiography, No Destination, first published by Green Books in 1978, has sold over 50,000 copies. He is also the author of You Are, Therefore I Am: A Declaration of Dependence and The Buddha and the Terrorist.
In 2005, Satish was Sue Lawley’s guest on Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs. In 2008, as part of BBC2’s Natural World series, he presented a 50-minute documentary from Dartmoor, Earth Pilgrim, which was watched by over 3.6 million people. He also appears regularly in the media, on a range of programmes including Thought for the Day and Midweek.
Satish is on the Advisory Board of Our Future Planet, a unique online community sharing ideas for real change and in recognition of his commitment to animal welfare and compassionate living, he was recently elected vice-president with the RSPCA. He continues to teach and run workshops on reverential ecology, holistic education and voluntary simplicity and is a much sought-after speaker both in the UK and abroad.
Joanna Lamond Lumley, OBE FRGS is an English actress, voice-over artist, former model, author and campaigner perhaps best known for her role in the British television series Absolutely Fabulous as Edina Monsoon’s best friend, Patsy Stone. Other TV roles included The New Avengers, Sapphire & Steel, Jam & Jerusalem and Sensitive Skin. She has appeared in several films since the 1960s including On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969), Trail of the Pink Panther (1982), Maybe Baby (2000), and more recently alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in the Martin Scorsese crime drama, The Wolf of Wall Street (2013).
She has also made taken many stage roles and in 2011 was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play for her performance in La Bête. Joanna has spoken out as a humanrights activist for Survival International and the Gurkha Justice Campaign and is an advocate for a number of environmental charities including Earth Restoration Service, of which she is Patron, and animal welfare groups such as Compassion in World Farming and Vegetarians’ International Voice for Animals.
She is patron of the Farm Animal Sanctuary. She also won the Special Recognition Award at The National Television Awards in 2013. In 2014 she co-founded the Resurgence Poetry Prize, and has a strong interest herself in ecopoetry. She is currently planning, in collaboration with the designer Thomas Heatherwick, a pedestrian bridge population with trees and gardens across the Thames in London.
Peter Phelps is an entrepreneur, environmental activist and writer. He grew up in Australia before moving to the UK in 1991, and has subsequently lived and worked in Russia and Kazakhstan. In 2004 he co-founded Earth Restoration Service, which he has chaired the charity ever since. He has been actively involved in a number of forest restoration projects in both the UK and Australia since the 1990s, and participated in the international Earth Restoration Conference held in Scotland in 2001 under the auspices of UNESCO and the UNEP.
Peter has nearly 30 years of business experience, and is co-owner and CEO of Aditus, the UK’s leading audience acquisition agency, which specialises in the publishing, charity and membership sectors.
Aditus provides membership acquisition services to Resurgence Trust on a pro bono basis. Together with his business partner and Earth Restoration Service trustee, Howard Colvin, Peter is also a director of Rudolf Wolff, the boutique investment manager.
Sponsors and Partners
Poetry in Aldeburgh
The award ceremony will take place at the Poetry in Aldeburgh Festival.
Poetry In Aldeburgh is a not-for-profit organisation that plans to build on and continue the heritage of poetry and poetry festivals in the Suffolk Coastal area over almost 3 decades. Our first festival was in November 2016. We also partner with other local and national organisations in the Literary and Arts fields to support Poetry in our area.
The Charity Trustees are Robin Boyd (Chair), Sally Myers and Mark Fairweather, all resident in Aldeburgh.
We have been very heartened by the level of support and encouragement for our collaborative and volunteer led venture.
Poetry In Aldeburgh is a registered charity 1167740.
The winner’s residency at White House Farm is kindly provided by Jason Gathorne-Hardy.
Jason Gathorne-Hardy was born in Malaysia and grew up in Suffolk. He trained as a Zoologist at Oxford University, but his fascination with livestock and wildlife inspired him to experiment in art, initially with woodcarving and later with graphite and natural pigments.
He now lives in the upper reaches of the Alde Valley, where he is the director and curator of the Alde Valley Spring Festival and through which he is kindly providing a writing residency at White House Farm, Great Glemham for the winner of the 2017 Resurgence Prize. The residency provides a unique opportunity for the winner to spend time writing and responding to the unique and inspiring environment of Jason’s farm.