This year sees the 28th annual Forward Prizes for Poetry awarded, on 20 October at the Royal Festival Hall. The Southbank Centre ceremony will see three winners announced out of a shortlist of 15: one for the Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection, one for the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem and one for the Forward Prize for Best Collection.
The 2019 judging panel – who read 204 collections and 183 single poems – is chaired by Shahidha Bari, presenter of BBC Radio 3’s Free Thinking, joined by Jamie Andrews, head of the British Library’s Cultural and Learning Programme, and poets Tara Bergin, Carol Rumens and Man Met’s own Andrew McMillan.
Can’t make it to London, or fancy a sneak preview, you’re in luck – Manchester Writing School at Manchester Met has teamed up with The Forward Arts Foundation so Northern audiences can hear from poets currently shortlisted for the £10,000-awarding 2019 Forward Prize for Best Collection. Head to this free event to celebrate the very best in this year’s poetry and hear what the poets have to say about their work, and the prestigious shortlist they’ve found themselves on.
Can’t make it to London, or fancy a sneak preview, you’re in luck – Manchester Writing School at Manchester Met has teamed up with The Forward Arts Foundation so Northern audiences can hear from poets currently shortlisted
There are five poets shortlisted for this year’s Forward Prizes for Best Collection. Fiona Benson repurposes Greek mythology in Vertigo & Ghost, in which Zeus is a highly contemporary figure: a serial rapist whose violence against women is both exposed and overlooked. In Noctuary, Niall Campbell voices the late nights and early mornings of fatherhood in poems from a world reshaped by half-waking dreams and interrupted sleep. Ukraine-born poet Ilya Kaminsky uses sign language to punctuate Deaf Republic, a love story set in a fictional military occupation where resistance takes the form of deafness. Vidyan Ravinthiran in The Million-petalled Flower of Being Here offers love sonnets finely balanced between inward and outward, tracing immigrant anxiety and the intimacies of marriage. Liverpool-based Helen Tookey’s City of Departures is out on Manchester’s Carcanet Press and mixes prose and verse to create an urban patchwork of glimpsed moments and chance affiliations.
The 2019 Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection is worth £5,000 and the shortlist features: Raymond Antrobus – The Perseverance (Penned in the Margins), Jay Bernard – Surge (Chatto & Windus), David Cain – Truth Street (Smokestack Books), Isabel Galleymore – Significant Other (Carcanet) and Stephen Sexton – If All the World and Love Were Young (Penguin Books).
The 2019 Forward Prize for Best Single Poem brings in £1,000 to the winner, to be picked from: Poets & Players regular Liz Berry – Highbury Park (Wild Court), Mary Jean Chan – The Window (National Poetry Competition), Jonathan Edwards – Bridge (The Frogmore Papers), Parwana Fayyaz – Forty Names (PN Review) and Holly Pester – Comic Timing (Granta Magazine).