West Australian writer, and Out Of The Asylum (OOTA) President, Julie Watts is the 2017 winner of the prestigious Blake Poetry Prize with her poem entitled 'The Story of Julian who will never know we loved him'.

Announced on 29 September 2017 at Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre, the $5,000 Blake Poetry Prize is awarded biannually by Liverpool City Library in partnership with Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre.

Taking its name from William Blake, a mystical and artistic Romantic era poet, the Blake Poetry Prize challenges modern poets to examine spirituality, humanity and social justice in works of 100 lines or less.

The award was judged by three high-profile writers, including award-winning author Maxine Beneba Clarke; Ali Cobby Eckermann, winner of the prestigious 2017 Windham-Campbell Prize, and Mark Tredinnick, winner of the inaugural Blake Poetry Prize. Of Julie’s winning entry they said “In The Story of Julian who will never know we loved him, the hierarchy of society is untangled in a moment allowing a glimpse into compassion and thought; a sliver of the everyday dialogue, rewritten as a reminder to us all.”

Announcing the award, Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre Director Craig Donarski said “Julie Watts’ poem is nothing short of brilliant. The religious and spiritual integrity that shines through her writing is exemplary of what the Blake Poetry Prize is all about, and we couldn’t be more excited to co-present this incredible achievement. Bravo!”

Apart from being our President, Julie Watts has been published in various journals and anthologies including Westerly, Australian Poetry Anthology and Australian Love Poems 2013. Her first collection of poetry, Honey & Hemlock, was published by Sunline Press in 2013.

Congratulations and well done Julie, from all your friends and colleagues at OOTA.

The winning entry, the highly commended entry, and all of the shortlisted poems, together with all of the judges' commentary can be read here httphttp://www.casulapowerhouse.com/get-involved/prizes/prizes/blake-poetry-prize

.Photograph by Andrew Burns