Future Scottish poetry stars in frame as shortlist announced for largest poetry prize in UK

Future Scottish poetry stars in frame as shortlist announced for largest poetry prize in UK

The eagerly awaited shortlist for the second Edwin Morgan Poetry Award has been announced today by the Scottish Poetry Library.

The £20,000 award for Scottish poets aged 30 or under, which is the largest poetry prize in the UK, was first given in 2014 and is awarded biennially.

Award judges Scots Makar Jackie Kay and poet Stewart Conn said ‘Our shortlist reflects not just the richness and energy of this year's entries but a startling diversity: traditional forms put to harmonious use, dream-worlds and the natural world lyrically evoked, insights into aspects of Scottishness and responses to works of art, verbal wit and typographical inventiveness, and a probing of new poem sources and modes, all of which we feel Edwin Morgan would have heartily approved.’

The 2016 shortlisted poets are:

  • Claire Askew whose first collection This Changes Things was published by Bloodaxe earlier this year. She has appeared on Radio 3’s The Verb.
  • Penny Boxall whose first collection Ship of the Line is published by Eyewear. In 2014, she was commended in the Forward Prize.
  • Sophie Collins who received an Eric Gregory Award in 2014. An extended selection of her work will be featured in the first instalment of the newly revived Penguin Modern Poets series, with Emily Berry and Anne Carson, this July.
  • Harry Giles whose debut collection Tonguit (Freight Books) has been nominated for 2016’s Forward Prize for Best First Collection.
  • Miriam Nash whose pamphlet Small Change is published by flipped eye. She won an Eric Gregory Award in 2015.
  • Stewart Sanderson who was shortlisted for the inaugural Edwin Morgan Poetry Award. In 2015 he received an Eric Gregory Award. This November he will take up a Robert Louis Stevenson Fellowship in Grez-sur-Loing, France.

The inaugural Edwin Morgan Poetry Award was won by Niall Campbell, whose debut collection Moontide went on to win the Saltire Society’s First Book of the Year Award and was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection. He is soon to have a first US collection published as part of the prestigious Princeton Series of Contemporary Poets.

Campbell says of his win in 2014: ‘I think the bankers have it wrong – time isn’t money; money is time. I used this extra time away from work to write. And to read more than I would have. And to accept offers of readings which I might not otherwise have been able to accept. The award allowed me 21 months away from work to concentrate on writing.’

The overall winner of the award will be revealed at the Book Festival during a special event with judges Jackie Kay and Stewart Conn on Thursday 18 August. Tickets to the event cost £8 (£6 concessions) and are available now.

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