Announcing the Inaugural Mercedes Webb-Pullman Poetry Award

New Zealand/Australian writer Mercedes Webb-Pullman died in Kapiti in July 2023. Mercedes’ family has decided to use any future royalties from her published works to fund an annual poetry award in her name, which in 2024 will be $500 NZD.


For this inaugural award, and in honour of Mercedes’ revolutionary spirit, entries are invited from New Zealand and Australian writers of one previously-unpublished poem per entrant, on the topic of REBELLION. The word count is not to exceed 430 words.

The inaugural award will be made on the first anniversary of Mercedes death at a celebration of Mercedes’ life and work at St Peters Village Hall, Paekakariki, NZ from 1-4pm, Sunday 28 July 2024.

Five finalists will be selected and advised by Saturday 20 July, and invited to present their work during this event, in person or by proxy. 

All poems entered remain confidential, anonymous, and internal during the judging process.

Two copies of each entry are required:

1)     The first copy must be entered as one PDF file and contain the title page, author’s name, address, personal e-mail address, and telephone number. The poem file name format must be: Author last name author first name poem title. Eg plath sylvia mad girls love song  If no title, please use the first line of the poem as the title. Eg plath sylvia you might as well haul up

2)     The second copy must be a “blind” copy (PDF file) with the title and poem only. All identifying information must be removed or redacted within the file. The file name for this copy must be the title of the poem only.

Closing date for entries is 14 June, 2024, two weeks before the 262nd anniversary of the overthrow of Russian Tsar Peter III in which 18-year-old Yekaterina Romanovna Dashkova took part.

Rebel against whatever YOU choose, and send your entry to:

Email HERE

Mercedes Jean Webb-Pullman, who died on 29 July, 2023, aged 73, had become a significant literary presence in New Zealand, most well-known for her poetry.

In addition to her 16 solo publications, Mercedes’ poetry and prose also appears in some 50 national and international anthologies. She was particularly proud of having a haiku – the only one from New Zealand – in 100 Haiku for Peace, an international publication in five languages, as well as a plaque with one of her poems on the Paekakariki Arts Walk.

Mercedes was born in Kaitaia in 1950, and moved with her family to Napier aged 6, where she attended Marewa and Maraenui Primary schools, Napier Intermediate, and Colenso High School. After having UE accredited, she headed south, then for Australia at 18, to Thredbo Alpine Village in the Snowy Mountains. Mercedes loved these mountains, and lived in the area off and on for almost 40 years, with periods in the United States and Sydney in between. During this time Mercedes became an acclaimed stained glass artist, receiving awards, and commissions from both civic and private buyers.

Mercedes Webb-Pullman only started writing in 2007 after her brother Michael gifted her a computer and connected her to the internet. She quickly made a name for herself in online poetry groups, and after coming back to New Zealand in 2008 and settling on the Kapiti Coast, she returned to study, graduating from Victoria University’s International Institute of Modern Letters with an MA in Creative Writing in 2011.

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