The yearly prize for a single volume of poetry published in the UK or Ireland by a single author has been announced by the estate of Seamus Heaney.

Heaney, who is regarded as one of the most significant poets of his period, was long affiliated with PEN (Poets, Essayists, Novelists), an organisation dedicated to promoting writers' freedom of speech around the globe.

"English PEN approached us about a year ago to discuss this, and given that Dad had such a long association with PEN and that the estate had been conscious that they wanted to do something to support poets, it just made sense to us," his son Mick stated.

"He was always interested in that balance between social justice, and with the artist and the poet being true to themselves so it was fitting to work with PEN, as their values align with ours," he stated.

Mick Heaney stated: "We are really looking forward to the competition process now but a little nervous too, but as my Dad said, 'walk on air against your better judgement' so that’s what we are doing with this new prize."

Poets Nick Laird, Paula Meehan, and Shazea Quraishi will be the judges for the first prize. Catherine Heaney, speaking on behalf of Seamus Heaney's estate, will serve as the panel's non-voting chair.

In collaboration with Irish Pen/Pen na hÉireann and English PEN, the £5,000 (€5,853) prize will be given to a poet of exceptional literary value who explores the effects of cultural or political events on human conditions or relationships.

PEN, one of the oldest human rights organisations in the world, supports writers' efforts to testify about the political and social contexts in which they live and work while also advocating for the freedom to write and read.

Publishers in the UK and Ireland are now able to submit. On June 3, 2024, at 11:59 p.m., they will close.

Poem collections released between January 1, 2023, and December 31, 2023 are acceptable. The website of the group has further information.