Grey Hen Press was founded by Joy Howard in 2007. The idea behind the press (and hence its name) was to showcase older women’s poetry. Why older women? because:
In terms of age, today’s poetry publishing scene is highly competitive and demanding in terms of building up a CV. Women over 60, especially those who may have more recently started writing, are really pushed for the time needed to acquire the necessary credentials. And more generally, older women are underrepresented in the mainstream, dismissed as ‘past it’ much earlier than men in society, but are feisty and fabulous, with a lot to say.
Grey Hen has gone from strength to strength. Eleven anthologies have been published and they have proved to be extremely popular. Well-known poets are published alongside, others who deserve to be better known; each book also features poets who have not been previously published. Over 170 poets have now contributed to the anthologies.
10th anniversary readings are underway across the country – we have already held events in Reading, York, Newcastle, Sale and Glasgow, and more are forthcoming, in Bristol, Woodbridge, Hebden Bridge and London.
Since 2009 Grey Hen has also been running an annual poetry competition for women over 60. I didn’t think initially it would pay its way, with such a restricted entry qualification, but it has proved to be a winner. The two adjudicators (also women poets over 60, a different pair each year) have had many brilliant poems to select from (annual average 450). The prizewinners are always invited to submit to the next Grey Hen anthology and several have gone on to become Grey Hen regulars. Any surplus raised goes to seed fund the next book.
Further details can be found on the website.