Forward Prizes for Poetry 2018: Caribbean Poets in the Running


[Many thanks to Nicholas Laughlin for bringing this item to our attention.] Today, the Forward Arts Foundation announced its shortlist for the 2018 Forward Prizes for Poetry. Two poets from Trinidad and Tobago are in the running, Vahni Capildeo and Shivanee Ramlochan.

The 27th annual Forward Prizes will be awarded live on stage on September 18, 2018, at the Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre (London, UK), featuring readings from the 15 poets shortlisted.

The Forward Prize for Best Collection

Vahni Capildeo – Venus as a Bear (Carcanet)
J. O. Morgan – Assurances (Cape Poetry)
Toby Martinez de las Rivas – Black Sun (Faber & Faber)
Danez Smith – Don’t Call Us Dead (Chatto & Windus)
Tracy K. Smith – Wade in the Water (Penguin UK)

The Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection

Kaveh Akbar – Calling a Wolf a Wolf (Penguin UK)
Abigail Parry – Jinx (Bloodaxe Books)
Phoebe Power – Shrines of Upper Austria (Carcanet)
Shivanee Ramlochan – Everyone Knows I Am a Haunting (Peepal Tree Press)
Richard Scott – Soho (Faber & Faber)

The Forward Prize for Best Single Poem

Fiona Benson – Ruins (Wild Court)
Liz Berry – The Republic of Motherhood (Granta)
Sumita Chakraborty – And death demands a labor (PN Review)
Jorie Graham – Tree (LRB)
Will Harris – SAY (The Poetry Review)

The Prizes have been generously supported by Bookmark since 1991 (until 2016, Bookmark traded as Forward Worldwide), and by the late Felix Dennis since 2004.

This year’s judging panel is chaired by writer, critic, broadcaster and film-maker Bidisha. It includes poets Mimi Khalvati, Chris McCabe, Niall Campbell, and vlogger, poet and author Jen Campbel

The Forward Prizes for Poetry are the most coveted awards for poetry published in Britain and Ireland: they have played a key role in bringing contemporary poetry to the attention of the wider public for a quarter of a century. They were set up in 1991 by philanthropist William Sieghart to celebrate excellence in poetry and increase its audience, and are awarded to published poets for work in print in the last year. The three prizes – £10,000 for Best Collection, £5,000 for Best First Collection and £1,000 for Best Single Poem – are unique in honouring both the work of established poets and the debuts of brilliant unknowns. Past Forward Prizes winners include Claudia Rankine, Thom Gunn, Seamus Heaney, Alice Oswald, Ted Hughes, Carol Ann Duffy and Kathleen Jamie.

Last year’s Forward Prizes winners were Sinéad Morrissey, Ocean Vuong and Ian Patterson.


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