The 26th annual Forward Prizes will be awarded on 21 September 2017 at the Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre. See the nation’s most coveted poetry prizes awarded live on stage by jury chairman Andrew Marr, and hear readings from the 15 poets shortlisted. Book Tickets.
The Forward Prize for Best Collection (£10,000)
Nuar Alsadir – Fourth Person Singular (Pavilion Poetry)
Tara Bergin – The Tragic Death of Eleanor Marx (Carcanet)
Emily Berry – Stranger, Baby (Faber & Faber)
Michael Longley – Angel Hill (Cape Poetry)
Sinéad Morrissey – On Balance (Carcanet)
The Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection (£5,000)
Maria Apichella – Psalmody (Eyewear Publishing)
Richard Georges – Make Us All Islands (Shearsman Books)
Eric Langley – Raking Light (Carcanet)
Nick Makoha – Kingdom Gravity (Peepal Tree Press)
Ocean Vuong – Night Sky with Exit Wounds (Cape Poetry)
The Forward Prize for Best Single Poem (£1,000)
Malika Booker – Nine Nights (Poetry Review)
Mary Jean Chan – // (Ambit)
Harmony Holiday – The City Admits no Wrongdoing (Prac Crit)
Ishion Hutchinson – Nightfall, Jane Ash Corner, St. Thomas (The Well Review)
Ian Patterson – The Plenty of Nothing (PN Review)
This year’s judging panel is chaired by Andrew Marr, journalist and television presenter, and includes poets Ian Duhig, Sandeep Parmar and Mona Arshi, and artist Chris Riddell.
The Forward Prizes for Poetry are the most coveted awards for poetry published in Britain and Ireland: they have played an key role in bringing contemporary poetry to the attention of the wider public for 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.
Psalmody interrogates love and faith in the contemporary world. Grounded in the relationship of a profoundly religious woman and an atheist, the collection’s central characters both become inextricably identified with the Old Testament King and Psalmist David. These free-verse psalms transplant all of the ancient form’s tropes – vivid eroticism, praise, questioning, triumph, doubt, and lush naturalism – into modern Wales.
Maria Apichella completed her PhD in English and Creative Writing at The University of Aberystwyth in Wales. She now teaches with the University of Maryland, University College, Europe.