Shortlist for Edwin Morgan Poetry Award Announced

Shortlist for Edwin Morgan Poetry Award Announced

Today, the Trustees of the Edwin Morgan Trust announced the shortlist of the 3rd Edwin Morgan Poetry Award for Scottish or Scotland-based poets aged 30 or under. With its award of £20,000, the Edwin Morgan Poetry Award is the largest poetry prize in the UK.

The winner of the 2018 Award will be announced during a special event at the Book Festival on Wednesday 22 August at 7.00pm - tickets are available now

The shortlisted poets for this year's Award are:

  • Tom Docherty - a poet from Hamilton whose poems were included in the Carcanet Press anthology, New Poetries VI.
  • Nadine Aisha Jassat - a writer and poet based in Edinburgh who received a Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award in 2018. 
  • Daisy Lafarge - a writer and editor based in Edinburgh whose pamphlet, understudies for air, was published by Sad Press.  
  • Peter Ratter - a Shetland-based poet who in 2012 received first prize in the Inspired? Get Writing! Scottish poetry competition. 
  • Roseanne Watt - a poet, filmmaker and musician from Shetland who was runner-up in the 2018 Aesthetica Creative Writing Award.

The judges of this year's Award are novelist Janice Galloway and poet John Glenday, who will host the Book Festival event in August. Glenday says he was impressed by the range of entries: 'Because the Edwin Morgan Poetry Award is a competition for full-length, unpublished manuscripts, the judges are granted a unique opportunity to enjoy not just the breadth of talent among Scotland’s younger poets, but also its depth. And enjoy it we did. Going by the range and quality of entries, there are most certainly exciting times ahead for Scottish poetry.'

Galloway commented on the process of choosing the finalists: 'Reading entries was by turns a chance to gorge on the freshest of modern poetry, then face the trial-by-fire that permitted only two poets to emerge as winner and runner-up. Choosing between those two, both outstanding in their expression, wit and sheer daring with craft, was hair-raising. We hope very much you are surprised and delighted by our decisions.'

The Edwin Morgan Poetry Award was established in 2014 as the result of a bequest by the late Scottish Makar. The level at which the age barrier is set was specified by Morgan himself. As a young poet, Morgan found it difficult to advance his career. Never forgetting his difficulties in this period, he wanted the Award to lend a helping hand to promising poets at what can be a discouraging period in their career.

Penny Boxall, winner of the 2016 Edwin Morgan Poetry Award, says that it gave her a huge boost: 'Since being given the award I have completed a second poetry collection and my first novel for children. It's also given me the financial backing to pursue residencies and fellowships, and I am currently taking time off to travel while writing. The award is life-changing and a wonderful validation of your work.'

Find out this year's winner at the Book Festival on Wednesday 22 August at 7.00pm. Tickets, priced at £8.00 (£6.00 concs), are available now through the Book Festival Box Office online, by phone on 0345 373 5888 or in person at The Hub, Castlehill until Fri 3 August and from the Book Festival village from Sat 4 August. 


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