New poetry prize in memory of distinguished Aberdeen poet to launch on World Poetry Day

A new international poetry competition, in memory of distinguished Aberdeen poet and former University of Aberdeen academic Gerard Rochford, is being launched on World Poetry Day on 21 March 2021.

The Gerard Rochford Poetry Prize 2021 – organised by the Mist and Mountain Creative Residency in collaboration with Gerard Rochford's Literary Executors – invites writers to submit an original poem on the theme of 'Family'.

The overall winner – selected by Dr Wayne Price, Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Aberdeen - will receive £150 and a large, bespoke commemorative plate, courtesy of Campbeltown Pottery, with an excerpt of Gerard Rochford’s poetry while two runners up will each receive small commemorative plates and £50.

Dr Wayne Price said: "I am honoured to judge the Gerard Rochford Poetry Prize 2021. Gerard was a highly accomplished poet, whose writings reflected a broad hinterland of experience, exploring human relationships, wildlife and politics. He was always generous with his time and advice too, nurturing and encouraging others to express themselves, write creatively and get into print. Hosting a competition in his name is an ideal way to acknowledge his achievements while promoting new poetry and poets as Gerard so often did in his lifetime."

Brought up in Worcestershire, Gerard Rochford (1932 – 2019) lived most of his life in his adopted home city Aberdeen, where he was a distinguished professor and psychotherapist. Poetry was his true vocation, and he was widely published in newspapers, influential online magazines, chapbooks and poetry collections. At the heart of Aberdeen’s vibrant poetry scene, Gerard was highly respected, not only for the quality of his own work, but for his generosity of spirit and time, mentoring and championing the work of nascent poets.

A regular visitor to Canada, Rochford established himself as a transatlantic poet and became an important and active part of the poetry scene in Victoria. Poetry was a lifetime labour of love but, as father to ten children with his wife Anne, who was of Indian descent, Gerard’s greatest joy was his family.

The closing date for entries to the Gerard Rochford Poetry Prize 2021 is 30 June 2021 and winners will be announced on Sunday 1 September 2021. Full details and entry rules for the competition are available on the Mist and Mountain Creative Residency website and the Gerard Rochford Poetry page