The winners of the Eric Gregory Awards were announced at the 2019 Society of Author’s Awards night. The awards were presented by the poet and author Jackie Kay, who said:
“These awards, I know from personal experience, are potentially life-changing. They bring writers in from the cold. They give writers a huge boost and validation. They tell them that their trials and tribulations have been worth it after all, after the long haul. Writing is a confidence game, and often writers' confidence is shot to pieces. An award like this can put self-doubt in the cupboard for a while."
This year there were six recipients of the Eric Gregory prizes, which are specifically for poets under 30 years old, each of whom received £4,725. We're delighted to see that three of the winners are recent PBS Choice recipients, including:
Sophie Collins, for Who is Mary Sue?
Collins won an Eric Gregory Award in 2014, making this her second time. Her collection Who is Mary Sue? combines elements of verse and prose to great effect, satirising and critiquing gender assumptions and the traditional relationship between reading and writing. Who is Mary Sue? was the PBS Spring 2018 Choice.
Séan Hewitt, for Lantern
Hewitt has seen his work in various publications, won a 2016 Northern Writers’ Award and the Resurgence Prize in 2017. He works at Trinity College Dublin and is a book critic for The Irish Times. Latern deals with the pain of loss, expressed through the worlds of nature and myth. We selected it as a PBS Summer 2019 Pamphlet Choice.
Mary Jean Chan, for A Hurry of English
Chan’s debut pamphlet, A Hurry of English was selected as a PBS Summer Pamphlet Choice 2018, while her debut collection, Flèche, was just recently selected for a PBS Autumn Recommendation 2019. A Hurry of English sees Chan balancing changing parental relationships with her own beliefs and desires.
The other three winners were:
James Conor Patterson, for Bandit Country
Belfast-based Patterson has published in numerous magazines and had numerous competition successes, including being shortlisted for the 2014 Bridport Prize, twice longlisted for the National Poetry Competition, and highly commended for the 2015 Patrick Kavanagh Award.
Phoebe Stuckes, for Platinum Blonde
Platinum Blonde will be published by Bloodaxe in 2020. Stuckes has won the Foyle Young Poets award four times and has read her work on BBC Radio 3.
Dominic Leonard, for This Mysterious
Leonard is a master’s degree student at the University of Leeds. His poetry has been featured in multiple magazines, and he was a runner-up for the Jane Martin Poetry Prize and a finalist for the Hollingworth Prize.