The Forward Prizes for Poetry were announced last night at the Contact Theatre in Manchester - the first time the prize ceremony has been held up North in its 30 year history.
The Best Collection Prize was awarded to Kim Moore for All the Men I Never Married (Seren Books) which deals with experiences of everyday sexism. Judges chair, Fatima Bhutto found the collection "full of dangerous wit and knowing humour that speaks directly to the reader in a hugely pleasurable way." Whilst judge Nadine Aisha Jassat described it as "A phenomenal and powerful collection, and one I urgently want to share with everyone I know. It feels so true, precise, brilliant and layered."
The Best First Collection Prize was awarded to the recent PBS Recommendation Amnion by Stephanie Sy Quia (Granta Books) which spotlights colonialism, class and migration through an accomplished blending of fiction, epic poetry and the lyric essay. Judge Alice Hiller praised the collection for "always questioning how the individual narratives are sited relative to the dominant power structures and historical realities shaping their outcomes." Rishi Dastidar said: "Amnion makes the blood flow faster, it is dazzling, new and exciting in the way it braids the personal with the broader context."
The Best Single Poem was awarded to ‘Up Late’ by Nick Laird (published in Granta) - an elegy to his father who died of Covid in March 2021. Nick said "It was the peculiar circumstances of the covid pandemic, where you couldn’t be with your dying loved ones, that brought the poem about in that form." The judges felt Laird’s poem sincerely engaged with death, grief and the private and shared lived experience of the pandemic in ways which readers will find profoundly moving and cathartic. Up Late will be published in a new collection by Nick Laird in June 2023.
Both collections are available to order via the links above with 25% off for PBS Members.